The Healthy Truth: Back to school health tips

By: Emily Lunardo | General Health | Tuesday, August 30, 2016 - 10:00 AM

Back to school health tipsDear Friends,

It’s that time of year again when all the children (and young adults) head back to school. Whether you are sending off your little one for the first time or are an experienced back-to-schooler, the transition can still get stressful.

There’s a lot to think about when the school year rolls around. Do you have all the essential supplies? Will you make new friends? And, of course, the ultimate back-to-school first day outfit! With so many things to cover, you may be overlooking the health implications that come hand in hand with the return to the classroom.

Have you ever noticed that illness seems to spike when everyone heads back to school? You may have children or teenagers coming home with runny noses, and then you catch the infection and pass it on to your coworkers and friends. It seems like a vicious cycle that you can’t escape.

You may be preparing your children to head back to school or you may be starting some courses yourself. Regardless, health should still be your number one priority. Without further ado, let’s look at some back to school health tips to keep you going throughout the year.

Back to school health tips

Update your vaccinations: With so many germs flying around, you want to make sure your child – or anyone in your family – is up to date with their vaccination schedule. Not only does this lower your own risk of catching an illness, but it also reduces the chance of spreading the infection to others.

Get to bed: Setting a bedtime is a good way to stay on track and ensure your family is getting enough sleep to stay alert and function the next day. Sleep is an integral part of health. It is the time when your body allows itself to restore and heal. Poor sleep has been tied to numerous health conditions, including chronic ones, so you want to make sure you’re clocking in those seven to eight hours.

Teach and practice good hygiene habits: Washing your hands is your number one defense against illness. Think of all the new germs that can be picked up in a school setting. Handwashing is especially important for the younger ones, because they often put their dirty hands in their mouths, which can easily make them sick.

Teach your children the proper way to wash their hands and enforce the habit. A good start is to show them that you wash your hands, too – as they say, “monkey-see, monkey-do.”

Get healthy snacks: Proper nutrition can give your child enough energy to last through the day. Loading up on sugary snacks can lead to hyperactivity, weight gain, and low energy. Having the proper nutrition can keep your child focused and on track to get through the classroom time and, of course, the best part of the day – recess!

Choose snacks that can be easily packed and won’t spoil too quickly. Carrot and celery sticks, apples, oranges, and even yogurt – when kept with an ice pack – are good snack options for anyone of any age. But be mindful before you send your child to school with nuts. Although these are a great source of protein, many schools have banned nuts due to allergies. Check with your kids’ school before you send them away with a PB&J sandwich.

Get a check-up: Before school starts, it’s a good idea to go for a check-up, whether that is with an eye doctor, dentist, or your family doctor. This will ensure your child is set and not falling behind with an undiagnosed illness or condition. Ensure eye prescriptions are up to date, so your child will be able to see the front of the class, and once again, check that all shots are completed.

Be aware of allergies: If your child has any allergies, you should notify the school. On the other hand, you should be prepared and have your treatment with you as well. For example, if you have asthma, you should carry around your inhaler or leave it with the teacher in case of emergencies. If peanuts are a threat, ensure your child has an EpiPen on them and that the staff is aware of how to use it.

Back to school is an already stressful time in itself, so you don’t want to add an unexpected illness into the mix. By keeping in mind these health tips, you can ensure your whole family stays healthy during this transition phase and enjoys all that school time has to offer!

Until next week,

Emily


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