Jump to content
2019 Nursing Salary Survey Read more... ×

Student Body Odor

School   (2,547 Views 30 Comments)
by AzElemNurse AzElemNurse (Member)

477 Visitors; 16 Posts

advertisement

Any thoughts or suggestions about how to sensitively address body odor with a 5th grade student (in this case a girl)?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

MHDNURSE has 21 years experience.

185 Likes; 11,074 Visitors; 1,080 Posts

Honestly I just tell them that they are the age now where their sweat stinks, and unless they want to be "the stinky kid in the class" they need to star using deodorant every day.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

OldDude works as a School Nurse.

876 Likes; 5 Followers; 1 Article; 27,708 Visitors; 4,543 Posts

I let the counselor address it as a social issue. There isn't anything in school policy prohibiting body odor.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

nmr79 works as a School Nurse.

16 Likes; 1,405 Visitors; 191 Posts

If I noticed it, and the girl seemed like she'd be receptive to feedback, or if I had a good relationship with her, I'd be direct. I'd say that once people reach a certain age, they need to shower more often and wear deodorant.

If some other staff at the school was bothered by it and wanted me to randomly call on the girl to start wearing deodorant, then I'd let it go, especially if the child doesn't seem bothered by it. It's way weirder for the kid to learn that staff has discussed them behind their backs.

To clarify- if other staff are bothered by it, and I don't know the girl, then I find it inappropriate to seek her out.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

OyWithThePoodles has 10 years experience as a RN and works as a Registered Nurse.

229 Likes; 1 Follower; 11,456 Visitors; 1,206 Posts

I have this issue with a student, everything smells because they have so many animals at home. He will come in my bathroom in the mornings and wash off, brush teeth, and put on deodorant.

If you have a spare stick, maybe call her up privately and tell her you have an extra that she can have, or if she's embarrassed you can keep it in your office for her to come up and use.

Sometimes they are just oblivious (how in the world!?) and once you gently bring attention to it they shape up.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

477 Visitors; 16 Posts

It was her teachers who brought it up to me and asked me to speak to her. I don't know her at all and feeling a bit awkward about it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
advertisement

MWOOD,LPN has 5 years experience and works as a School Nurse.

528 Visitors; 42 Posts

It was her teachers who brought it up to me and asked me to speak to her. I don't know her at all and feeling a bit awkward about it.

I would bring it up to guidance or explain to the teacher that you have no relationship with the student and that if the teacher feels comfortable enough that they can have that discussion with her.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

1,119 Visitors; 116 Posts

I would let her know that others can smell her and it is sometimes unpleasant - most kids know what you're going to say when they get dragged in for the hygiene talk. I'd also ask a few questions regarding home life: Do you have water at home? Washer? Soap for the machine? Do you know how to use it? Do you have pets at home? How many?

That sort of thing. I've had several students with no power or water and that's why they were always dirty.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

kidzcare has 5 years experience.

160 Likes; 19,053 Visitors; 3,202 Posts

It was her teachers who brought it up to me and asked me to speak to her. I don't know her at all and feeling a bit awkward about it.

This is unlikely to be a comfortable conversation for anyone but I think the girl will be MORE embarrassed to have an unfamiliar adult (you) seek her out to say (of course with tact) that she smells so badly that her teacher recruited someone else to intervene. I think it should be the teacher to say something.

I only agreed once to talk to a student about a terrible odor and it was because he came to see me everyday for medication at lunch. I saw him everyday, he was familiar with me, I could discreetly let him know and then have him use my private restroom to freshen up (BTW- it never worked. The smell was awful. Administration got involved to talk to the parents to see if they needed assistance with laundry in case their water had been turned off, mom was offended and complained to me about anyone bringing it up. Our best guess was that one of their cats was using his clean laundry as a litterbox)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

569 Visitors; 84 Posts

I let the counselor address it as a social issue. There isn't anything in school policy prohibiting body odor.

Smart move!

In the past, I have addressed the issue myself. Assessed student to determine factors r/t to foul odor (ie. refuse to shower, not wearing deodorant, parent refusing to wash clothes, etc.). Then, I notified the parent. It ends up with either, the parent is not sufficiently taking care of the child, or providing education re: healthy hygiene habits.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Leader25 has 35 years experience.

55 Likes; 2 Followers; 4,228 Visitors; 658 Posts

Tough issue,if you find someone who will address this with her,how about a little gift of products,little samples,to reinforce the conversation.Good luck.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

16 Likes; 635 Visitors; 140 Posts

Back when I was in 5th grade (I was in a combination 5th/6th class) they put the girls and boys in separate groups and for us girls, the teacher addressed menstruation and body odor - we did not get into anything direct about sexual activity. Do they not do that any more?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
×