Back to School: Staying Healthy In and Out of the Classroom

August 14, 2014

Kids spend more time at school during the year than anywhere else, and while every parent knows the back to school season is filled with shopping excursions, new school supplies and other preparations, there is one other important thing many people forget. It’s time to make your children’s health part of your back to school to-do list. You know, something you can actually feel good about spending your money on!
Whether they’re in the classroom or on the athletic fields, children and teens are exposed to situations where their health can be compromised. With so many children in such close quarters, colds, flus and other infections are the norm. Athletes can suffer from heat-related illnesses, and something as common as your child’s backpack can be a factory for germs or even cause muscle strain.
To help you prepare and be fully back-to-school ready, here are some common health issues that pop up during the school year!
Aspiring athletes:  It’s the perfect time to get your superstar a physical before heading back to football, soccer, cheerleading or cross country practice. Most schools require their athletes to have a sports-specific physical before stepping on the field, and with extended hours at our clinics, it’s an easy stop before heading back to school. Athletes should also be aware of lingering heat from the summer and take precautions to stay healthy while practicing or working out in high temperatures.

  • Work slowly to build up endurance in hot situations.
  • Get plenty of sleep
  • Drink lots of fluids before, during and after workouts.
  • Quick cooling is key to preventing heat-related deaths; ice baths can also bring the body temperature down in a serious heat situation.

Battling Bugs: Since children are highly likely to be exposed to germs at school, here are some of the most common illnesses and symptoms that strike children during the school year. Immunizations can help prevent the spread of these infections, as can regular hand washing.

  • Meningitis and meningococcal disease
  • Influenza
  • Norovirus
  • MRSA (staph)
  • Pertussis (whooping cough)

Hidden Germs: Knowing the common infections that circulate at school can help keep you ahead of the stomach bug, but germs can hide in the darndest places, like your child’s backpack or cell phone. Here are some other germy places your kids may encounter.

  • Pencil sharpener
  • Desktops
  • Cafeteria
  • School pools
  • Gym class

The good new is that most germs and bugs can be nipped in the bud with regular hand washing and a little “Mom vigilance” (or Dad!). Preventive physicals and immunizations are also key to keeping your kids healthy in the classroom, on the playing field and, most importantly, at home.
What do you do to keep your kids healthy during the school year? Share your tips for healthy school and home environments with us!

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