Tips for a healthy “Back to School”
August 8, 2016
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), while in close quarters of the classroom, most children will catch some 6-12 illnesses during the new school year from stomach bugs to pink eye and from colds and flu.
Even before school begins, it is critical to get your child vaccinated against influenza and common childhood illnesses which is not only mandated by state law, but also because vaccinations are the single most effective way to prevent serious childhood illness.
For Texas vaccination information, visit http://www.dshs.texas.gov/immunize/school/
Remember that Texas MedClinic is vaccination central!
Tips for staying healthy!
Parents should help their children cultivate simple habits to help make the year a healthier one. Here are several key health tips for both parents and students:
- Always cover coughs and sneezes because failing to do so can spread diseases. Children should be instructed to cover their coughs and sneezes by coughing into the crook of their arm if they don’t have a tissue. This way the germs aren’t “caught” in their hands and spread to surfaces and other children by their hands.
- Use a tissue only once, instead of carrying it around and spreading germs.
- Children should try to keep their hands away from their eyes and mouths.
- Stress to your children not to share water bottles, food, pens and pencils, and toys.
- Washing hands and using hand sanitizer is critical. This is probably the expert’s number 1 rule to cut down on colds and flu. Teach kids to sing “Happy Birthday” while washing their hands to ensure that they get them good and clean.
- Play and stay active! Getting plenty of exercise helps the body and mind stay healthy!
- Eat healthy foods. Eating a balanced diet is the best thing for growing bodies.
- Drink plenty of fluids.
- Sleep! Not getting enough of a good night’ssleep can wreak havoc on a child’s health and decrease the body’s ability to respond to colds or bacterial infections. The rule of thumb is that preschoolers (age 3-5) need 10-13 hours of sleep; school age (age 6-13) need 10-13 hours of sleep, and teenagers (age 14-17) need 8-10 hours of sleep.
- Consider giving your child a multivitamin to support your child’s immune system.
- Around the house, wipe down knobs and handles. A stepped up-routine cleaning can help prevent colds and flu germs from getting a foothold in the house.
- Help your child avoid anyone who has a communicable infection. Close contact with a friend who’s contagious – such as at play dates or sleepovers – could lead to your child’s own illness.
What is the right way to wash your hands?
According to the CDC, hand washing is the best defense against infections, and there are specific steps you should follow to correctly wash your hands. Be sure to teach your kids these helpful hints, and practice them with your kids and in the bathroom!
- Wet your hands with clean, running water (warm or cold), turn off the tap, and apply soap.
- Lather your hands by rubbing them together with the soap. Be sure to lather the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails.
- Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds. Need a timer? Hum the “Happy Birthday” song from beginning to end
- Rinse your hands well under clean, running water.
- Dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry them.
Tips for teachers:
Teachers are not immune to classroom germs and diseases. It is extremely difficult for teachers to stay healthy when they are exposed to so many children in the classroom day after day.
A few tips for teachers are:
- Model and practice proper hand washing.
- Get a flu shot, then tell students why it is important for students to do so as well.
- Use a fist bump instead of a handshake.
- Remind students to cough into their arm when coughing or sneezing.
- Have a supply of tissues, disinfectant wipes and hand sanitizers in a box near, but not on your desk.
It is a challenge to keep your children healthy during the school year. These tips can’t guarantee that your children will stay 100 percent germ free, but they’ll go surprisingly far toward limiting those “lying-on-the-couch” sick days! And remember, Texas MedClinic is open 7 days a week from 8am to 11pm if you or your child get sick.