The school nurse provides health care to students and staff. One of the most common health problems cared for by the school nurse is the stomach ache. Although each school's policies and procedures are different, there are a few specific steps the school nurse should take when treating a child with a stomach ache.

Treating A Stomach Ache

Ask the child to describe his stomach ache symptoms, including when the stomach ache started, where it hurts and what he was doing when the pain started. It is important to ask these questions, since it should help to determine the cause of the stomach ache. Typically, the child's stomach ache can be related to something she ate or a vigorous activity she participated in. Occasionally, the child's stomach ache may be caused by stress or anxiety. The school nurse needs to determine the potential cause for the stomach ache, since this will help dictate the proper treatment.

Show the child to a lounge chair, cot or sofa to lie down. Arrange the child comfortably with a blanket and pillow if available. Allow the child to lie in a quiet room for at least 20 or 30 minutes to see if the stomach ache goes away. If possible, give the child a book to read to occupy the time.

If your school policies will allow it, give the child a mint to suck on or a small glass of fizzy soda to sip slowly. Both remedies have proven to be successful at calming an upset stomach. It is important to review the child's medical records before providing any food or drink, in case of food allergies or specific requests by the parents. If you are unable to give mints or soda, give the child a small glass of water.

Consult with the child after 20 or 30 minutes to see how the stomach ache has progressed. If the child no longer has a stomach ache, he can be sent back to class. If the stomach ache persists, however, his parents should be contacted. Explain the situation over the phone and recommend that the child be sent home for the day. Allow the child to stay in the nNurse's office with you until the parent has arrived.

Contact the student's teacher and inform her that the child will be sent home for the day. If necessary, arrange for the child's homework to be sent to your office or to the school's front office. When the child's parent arrives, escort the child to the parent.

Document all details in the student's medical record on file at the school. Include a thorough description of the student's visit to your office, including symptoms, treatment and results. Review the child's records to determine if stomach aches are a frequent complaint. If so, it may be necessary to contact the child's parents and recommend that the child be seen by a doctor.