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Tuscaloosa, AL: More chronically ill kids; 20% increase in allergies/GI issues in one year

July 9, 2018, Tuscaloosa (AL) News: County schools seeing a rise in health issues http://www.tuscaloosanews.com/news/20180709/county-schools-seeing-rise-in-health-issues The number of children with health issues, such as allergies and stomach issues, has been rising in the Tuscaloosa County School System. On Monday, the Tuscaloosa County Board of Education heard a presentation from Felisa Swift Washington, head nurse of the school system, who discussed the nursing department and which kinds of health issues her staff encountered over the past school year…. In the school system, there are 40 full-time nurses and 47 nurses who are employed on an as-needed basis, mostly as substitute nurses or nurses provided by various agencies…. ... During the last school year, there were 144 invasive procedures administered in the county system. However, the most dramatic information Washington presented was on the number of ailments, which had risen sharply over the years. Washington estimated that the number of students with allergies, stomach issues and special dietary needs had gone up 20 percent from the previous year. During the 2017-18 school year, the number of children with allergies was 6,013, those with stomach issues totaled to 714, while the number of students with special dietary needs reached 284. During the previous school year, there were 5,093 students dealt with allergies, 594 dealt with stomach issues and 226 required special diets. … One aspect of addressing needs is telling parents how they can help their children. Specifically, with more than 1,000 students who suffered from mental issues this past school year — almost 100 more than there were the previous year — the answer is community partnerships and letting people know where they can find additional help. …