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It’s Back to School Time

It’s that time again. The hustle and bustle of school and after-school activities. However, often times, as parents, we overlook the importance of maintaining the health of our children. The following are few simple tasks to ensure your child’s optimal health and reduce the risk of absenteeism due to illness, for this upcoming school year:

  1. Teach your child the importance of practicing good hand hygiene. Rule of thumb- wash your hands with soap and water, at any point the hands are visible soiled. Hand sanitizer, is appropriate for maintaining good hand hygiene when soap and water sources are not readily available. Of note, hand sanitizer is not the appropriate option when hands are visible soiled. Good hand hygiene significantly reduces the risk for acquiring commonly acquired respiratory infections and common infectious gastrointestinal illness. Therefore reducing the risk of acute illness in children which subsequently leads to school absenteeism.
  2. Are your child’s immunizations current? Schools are required to review and ensure all children are up to date on age appropriate immunizations. Schools have the option to restrict access of your child into school or sports programs if immunizations are not current. Please consult with your child’s primary care provider or review the CDC Immunization Schedules | CDC to ensure all immunizations are up to date.
  3. Will your child play sports this year? Most athletic programs require annual sports physical to be completed by a healthcare provider. It is important that parents and children provide all pertinent information regarding recent concussions, head trauma, chronic illness (asthma, sickle cell, heart anomaly) surgeries, or previous fracture to your healthcare provider to ensure the safest outcome when your child is participating in sports.
  4. Assist your children in choosing healthy meal and snack options. Children should limit intake of foods high in sugar and saturated fats as these foods can cause unnecessary weight gain, impact classroom concentration, and cause fatigue. It is also essential that your child is physically active to reduce the risk of developing childhood obesity which can lead to long-standing chronic diseases.
    For information regarding healthy, affordable and nutritional food options, parents and their children can go to https://www.choosemyplate.gov.
  5. Ensuring that your child obtains adequate rest is an essential element to having a successful school year. Number of recommended hours of sleep vary according to your child’s age.
    • Encourage your child to engage in some form of physical activity daily.
    • Set a time for your child to be “screen free” which is often at least one hour prior to bedtime.
    • Starting a pre-sleep routine to induce relaxation prior to bedtime will aid in your child anticipating sleep.

For more detailed information, visit https://www.sleepfoundation.org/articles/plan-ahead-start-back-school-bedtime-routines-now