It’s that time again…time to say “Good-bye” to summer and “Hello” to school starting. Some of us jump for joy, others cringe.
School is many things – a place where kids learn and grow cognitively, develop social skills, and become independent individuals. However, it can also be a place where they pick up germs and illnesses and bring them home to share.
Here are some simple tips to keeping our children healthy:
1. Get vaccinated
Vaccines are known to be safe and very effective at preventing some life-threatening illness and disease. New York State mandates certain vaccines at certain ages and grade levels. Check with your pediatrician prior to the start of school to assure your child is up to date on all their vaccines and ready to attend school.
2. Boost the immune system
Keeping your child’s immune system strong is an important way to stay healthy and ward off illness. Make sure they eat a well-rounded nutritious diet, get enough sleep at night, and have some fun – playing outdoors and getting exercise daily.
3. Avoid the spread of simple viruses
Many childhood illnesses are caused by viruses. These can be spread by touch or respiratory particles in the air. To avoid the spread of viruses, teach your child to wash their hands well- before eating, after using the bathroom, and after sneezing/coughing/blowing their nose. Try and teach them to blow into their arms or elbows instead of their hands when they sneeze. If soap and water are not available, make sure they have a hand sanitizer to use. Also tell them not to touch their dirty hands to their nose, mouth or eyes.
4. Watch for signs of stress or anxiety in your child
Homework, tests, social pressure – kids face a lot of stressful situations each day. Research shows that stress and anxiety can have a negative impact on our children’s health. If you notice your child may be experiencing these things, try and find ways to manage them. If you need help, your child’s doctor can be a good resource.
5. Boost the brain
Make sure your child eats a balanced breakfast each day that consists of a low-fat protein and complex carbohydrate. Decide to pack your child’s lunch each day, so you assure they are getting healthy options to eat. If allowed, have them take a water bottle to school to assure enough hydration throughout the day as well.
6. Stay home when sick
You hate to see your child miss school, or you have to miss work, but you also do not want your child to be the one that made the rest of the classroom ill! If your child has vomiting/diarrhea, an unexplained rash, a severe cough, or a fever over 100.4, let them stay home and rest until the symptoms have cleared for 24 hours. If the symptoms continue for 2-3 days, you may want to call your Pediatrician for advice or have your child seen in the office.
Heading back to school can be fun and exciting. Staying healthy so they can attend each day can be accomplished a little bit easier if you follow those simple tips.
– Dr Rebecca Daniels, Williamsville Pediatric Center