Children with medical needs

Children with medical needs

Understanding and managing your child’s needs

Pupils at school with medical conditions should be properly supported so that they have full access to education, including school trips and physical education.

Governing bodies must ensure that arrangements are in place in schools to support pupils at school with medical conditions.

Individual healthcare plans can help to ensure that schools effectively support pupils with medical conditions. They will often be essential, such as in cases where conditions fluctuate or where there is a high risk that emergency intervention will be needed, and are likely to be helpful in the majority of other cases, especially where medical conditions are long- term and complex.

The Sutton School Nursing service works with school, parents and young people to develop healthcare plans and deliver training to staff on these conditions especially where there is a need for emergency intervention. Contact Sutton School Nursing on 020 8770 5409 or

Anaphylactic shock

Anaphylaxis is a dangerous type of allergic reaction which is most likely to be caused by particular foods, insect bites or medicines.

Early signs of allergic reaction:

  • Swelling and itching; the face may be flushed and wheals or hives may erupt on the skin.

  • Lip or facial swelling.

  • Acute vomiting/abdominal pain.

Anaphylaxis or severe reactions:

  • Difficulty breathing, coughing and/or wheezing.

  • Loss of colour; cold and clammy.

  • Loss of consciousness (may appear asleep).

Call 999 and tell the operator you think the child has anaphylaxis. If available, an adrenaline injection should be given as soon as a serious reaction is suspected. If you already have an EpiPen or injection device for your child, make sure you know the correct way to use it in advance of an emergency.


There are 2 types of diabetes (types 1 and 2). We talk mostly about type 1 diabetes as this is the type which happens to children and young people. Type 1 diabetes happens when the body does not produce enough insulin.

Signs and symptoms of diabetes

Contact your GP urgently if you notice the signs below. If you cannot get an appointment the same day please attend a Walk-In Centre or A&E and explain the symptoms.

  • Feeling very thirsty and having a dry mouth.

  • Going to the toilet frequently, particularly at night.

  • Feeling very tired and drowsy.

  • Weight loss.

Signs that you could be seriously unwell - all of the above plus vomiting, abdominal pain and difficulty breathing.


Epilepsy is a condition that affects the brain and causes repeated seizures. Epilepsy can start at any age, but it most often begins during childhood. The severity of seizures can differ from person to person. Some people simply experience an odd feeling with no loss of awareness, or may have a ‘trance-like’ state for a few seconds or minutes, while others lose consciousness and have convulsions. For most people with epilepsy, treatment with medications called anti-epileptic drugs (AEDs) is recommended. These medications cannot cure epilepsy, but they are often very effective in controlling seizures. Advice is available from your GP or support groups.