Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Helping Kids with Meds at School; Children with Cystic Fibrosis Can Take Medication Themselves

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Helping Kids with Meds at School; Children with Cystic Fibrosis Can Take Medication Themselves

Article excerpt

Byline: JEREMY COX

For Leila Browder, the lunch bell isn't a welcome sound.

It signals that the 7-year-old has to trek down to the school nurse's office to take her medication. If Leila had it her way, the Fruit Cove girl's mother says, she would take it on her own.

Now, she can.

During its session last spring, the Florida Legislature carved out an exception for children with cystic fibrosis to a Florida law that requires all students' medications to be stored and administered by trained school staff. Starting Thursday, they can take a medication that aids in food digestion without having to make an office trip.

The requirement was more than just a hassle, said Keeley Browder, Leila's mother. Leila's teachers usually dismiss her to lunch about five minutes before the rest of the class to give her time to take her medication and get a spot in the lunch line.

"She doesn't like to call attention to the fact that she has to take medication before she eats," she said of her daughter, who just finished the second grade at Cunningham Creek Elementary School. "It doesn't have to be something that everybody has to be disrupted by."

Cystic fibrosis is an inherited disease that creates a salt imbalance in the body's cells, leading to a buildup of sticky fluid in the lungs and digestive tract. Children with severe cases suffer frequent respiratory infections that damage the lungs, and they have difficulty absorbing nutrients from the food they eat. Few live past their 30s.

There is no cure, but there are treatments, including pancreatic-enzyme supplements. In cystic fibrosis patients, the thick mucus often inhibits the flow of enzymes between the pancreas and intestines. …

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