The time for kids to head back to school is quickly approaching and as your family adjusts to the new school year, it’s a good idea to take some precautionary measures to set your kids up for a safe, healthy year. Dr. Levi Strube, pediatrician with Hannibal Regional Medical Group, has a few tips to help make sure your children will have a great year.
Alert the school of health concerns.
One of the most important things you can do to ensure your child remains healthy is to make certain the school knows your child’s health care needs and how to address them. “If your child takes any medication, or experiences common health problems such as severe allergies, asthma, or physical restrictions, it’s a good idea to prepare your school nurse or administrator for potential health issues prior to the first day of school. Remember to also provide proper medicine and dosage information, as well as emergency contact and physician information,” shares Dr. Strube.
Schedule a well-child visit.
An annual well-child visit with your child’s pediatrician will help ensure your child is healthy before returning to class. “A well-child visit is one of the best things you can do to keep your children healthy. Annual visits are recommended until kids head off to college. It’s a good time for parents to visit with us and share any concerns,” says Dr. Strube. Well-child visits are also a good time to complete any needed sports physicals, update any prescriptions or have any other necessary forms signed.
Establish good hygiene habits and know when to stay home.
We have likely all heard about the importance of proper hand hygiene and it is no different for kids. It is a good idea to help kids establish a habit of washing their hands before eating and after bathroom use and remind your kids that there are times when it’s ok not to share. “Help your children understand that there are certain things that shouldn’t be shared. These items include eating utensils, drinking cups, water bottles, grooming articles, etc. It is especially important to keep this in mind during cold and flu season,” says Dr. Strube.
If your child is sick, please don’t send them to school. If your child is running a fever, vomiting, or having diarrhea, please stay home and rest. If more symptoms appear or continue to worsen, consult with your healthcare provider.
Manage stress and re-establish routines.
Back-to-school time can be overwhelming and a bit stressful for kids and parents, but too much stress can lead to a variety of health issues. “You can help your children manage stress by talking to them about anything that may be bothering them,” notes Dr. Strube. “Schoolwork and after-school activities are important, but don’t forget that it’s also important to take time to relax and spend time together as a family.”
At least one week before school begins, shift your children from flexible summer sleep hours to bedtime schedules that fit the school year. “To help re-establish a good sleep routine, turn off all screens including computer, television, and phone 30 minutes prior to sleep,” says Dr. Strube. “The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends teenagers sleep 8 to 10 hours per 24 hours on a regular basis to promote optimal health.”
To contact Hannibal Regional Medical Group call 573-629-3500.