Back-to-School Health Tips

The school year is here! This means students will be at a higher risk of picking up pesky flu and cold bugs from their classmates. Keep your kiddos healthy with the following tips from our friends at Good Neighbor Pharmacy:

Keep Up with Your Child’s Vaccines

Talk to your pediatrician about what vaccines your child needs and when. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children over six months old get an annual flu shot to protect against influenza, which is more serious than the common cold. Your pediatrician can also give you up-to-date information about the COVID-19 vaccine and when it’s right for your child.

It’s also important to stay current with your child’s routine vaccination schedule, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Vaccines help protect your child from common childhood diseases like measles, mumps, and chickenpox.

Reinforce Good Sleep Habits

Good sleep helps a child’s immunity as the body rests and regenerates. During sleep, the body produces proteins that fight infection and reduce inflammation, according to the Cleveland Clinic. A good rule of thumb is that children between ages three and five need between 10 and 13 hours of sleep each night, those six to 12 years need nine to 12 hours, and teenagers need eight to 10 hours.

Get Back to Healthy Eating

If your child’s summer fare consisted of more sweets than fruits and veggies, it’s time to get back on track with healthy meals. According to the Harvard Medical School, a well-balanced diet boosts your child’s immune system, helping them fight off germs.

Aim to fill half of your child’s plate with fruits and vegetables, then add whole grains and lean protein. Foods with calcium (like plain yogurt) and healthy fats (like olive oil) are important. It’s not easy, but try to limit your child’s sugar intake to the occasional treat of cookies or ice cream.

It’s best for your child to get their nutrients through a well-balanced diet, but talk to your pediatrician about possibly adding vitamins or other supplements if your child is a super-picky eater.

Review Your Child’s Handwashing Technique

There’s good reason to make sure your child is washing their hands properly. According to the Cleveland Clinic, 80 percent of infections are spread by touch. Washing your hands with warm water and soap removes bacteria and viruses that cause colds, flu, and lung infections.

Twenty seconds is the magic amount of time you should spend washing your hands to rid them of germs. For your child, that translates to singing the “ABC Song” once all the way through.

Reduce Stress

Children do best when they have a stable home environment and a predictable routine. Feeling stressed can actually lower a child’s ability to fight off germs.

Because the back-to-school period can be an anxious time for children, do your best to provide a calm, comforting environment at home. Start easing into the school routine a few weeks ahead of time (no more late summer nights) and talking about what to expect at school.

Provide your child with stress-relieving activities like walks outside, trips to the playground, and time to play alone without feeling rushed.

(Source: Good Neighbor Pharmacy Script)

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