Tips for student dealing with Crohns disease., SEATTLE — Heading back to school can stir up anxiety in any child, especially those dealing with a health issue. For children with inflammatory bowel disease, stepping foot in a classroom can be downright terrifying.
“They’re afraid the things they fear the most will happen at school,” said Teresa Wachs, a nurse at Seattle Children’s Hospital.
To calm their concerns, Wachs has offered several tips to parents of children with IBD.
In the estimated 1.4 million people who suffer from IBD, including Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis, the digestive tract becomes swollen and inflamed, causing abdominal pain, diarrhea, fever and nausea. The disease most commonly occurs in people ages 15 to 30, though it can occur in children as young as 2 years old.
“They’re worried about their friends asking them about going to the bathroom all the time or why they take certain medications,” Wachs said.
IBD symptoms also tend to increase with stress, so if a child is anxious at school they are more likely to experience painful or embarrassing effects.
But Wachs said being proactive can help kids and teens avoid these issues.
“It’s important for parents to partner with the school and educate staff,” Wachs said. “It takes away some of that worry and makes kids look forward to going to school, rather than being anxious and missing days.”
Here are some of Wachs’ tips. See them all on Seattle Children’s Hospital blog “On the Pulse.”