Do you know what functions the liver performs for the human body or how to care for this important organ? The children at Friendship Hill Elementary found out on February 24. Students from the West Virginia University School of Pharmacy visited the school in Point Marion, Pa., to educate students in kindergarten through second grade on the importance of taking care of their livers.
“We hope that our presentation encouraged children to take steps now to lead a healthy lifestyle,” second-year student pharmacist Micah Plants said. “Drugs and alcohol can damage the liver, and we want the kids to make sure that their livers function properly and are healthy.”
The student pharmacists discussed the function of the liver, why and how children should take care of this important organ and what substances can be harmful to it. The presentation also discussed the importance of taking medications as directed, why it is important to understand the difference between helpful drugs and harmful drugs and the dangers of acetaminophen — an active ingredient in many over-the-counter medications
“Children should never take medication without the supervision of an adult, but sometimes adults don’t realize how much or if acetaminophen is in a medication,” Plants said. “We wanted the children to learn about this and take the information home to share with their parents or guardians.”
Another goal of the event was to help children learn that a pharmacist is a medication expert and is there to answer any medication questions their families may have.
“We wanted the children to understand that their families can approach pharmacists with questions about medications, healthy behaviors and prevention and treatment of diseases,” Plants added.
The students were partnered with the American Liver Foundation through the WVU Center for Civic Engagement for their Introductory Pharmacy Practice Experience course, which promotes service to the community.
Student pharmacist Brad Allison speaks with several children at Friendship Hill Elementary about liver health.