Advice for the "hygiene" talk...

  1. It's the new school nurse again!!

    A teacher just asked me to talk to a student about his hygiene. Actually, he basically told me that the kid plain old stank!!
    What is the best way to go about telling a "smelly" kid that he's got to clean up?
    BTW - he's a seventh grader...
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    About Mrs.B

    Joined: Oct '02; Posts: 30; Likes: 1
    RN @ Hampton Bays HS


  3. by   bergren
    The body odor and hygiene issue has been discussed ad nauseum (forgive the pun) on SCHLRN-L, the school nurse listserv. To access the archives, go to the following web site and type in: body odor

    To subscribe to the school nurse listserv, go to:

    If you prefer the bulletin board format of,
    WARNING: The school nurse list, SCHLRN-L, generates a LOT of mail.
  4. by   renerian
    I had to talk to four of them about body odor. I did not sugar coat it. I just said you smell terrible. Here is some deoderant.

  5. by   Josie K
    Are the smelly bits age related? Hygiene topics are best acompanied with 'growing up/body changes' Ed. This even goes down well with youngsters, and allows info re-enuresis help and support.
    Any topic of school health education should be delivered in a non-threatening manner, leaving kids with knowledge for change, & feeling good about themselves.
    Some kids have caring parents to ensure their everyday well-being, others have to put up with their parents own 'caring needs and deficits'.
  6. by   temptaker
    I always assess the students myself, too. I have had teachers who could smell a pig at 50 miles, if you follow my drift. You would want to assess if a student can tell when they showered, and whether they use hygiene products (or need them), and if their clothes look clean or dirty, their level of comprehension, and so forth. Use your own mind (and nose) when dealing with these types of referrals.
  7. by   Rapheal
    We had a friend in the neighborhood. Lived 2 blocks from us. He is mildly retarded and lived with his father at the time- his mother had died 8 months before. He really started to stink.

    Well to make a long story short- he had no running water in the bathroom. Later they condemned his house (which looked fine from the outside).

    My daughter has a friend who's hot water tank was broken and the family (short on cash) took months to replace it. We let them shower at our house but they only did this about once a week - and only when I wasn't home. I think they were embarassed.

    So if this kid that you spoke of just recently started to smell- there might be more to the story. You might want to ask about his/her water situation at home. Good luck on this touchy subject.
  8. by   adrienurse
    Okay let him take the lead in this issue. Find out about his home situation. Approach the issue gently. It's good to find out what's going on at home, is there a bigger issue here? Poverty? Neglect? Embarrassment over hitting puberty? Knowledge deficit?
  9. by   Love-A-Nurse
    i would want to know what time of day does the teacher notice the body odor. if after gym, etc. being 12 yo is a sensitive age and good tactics will prevail in handling this situation no matter why the lack of good hygiene.
  10. by   temptaker
    Good point. And even if they take a shower (not!) after gym, they don't after recess. Sharp observation, Love-A-Nurse!
  11. by   Love-A-Nurse
    temptaker, thank you.