Once again, it’s that time of year. The days of summer are dwindling and fall is fast approaching. With these winds of seasonal change bring a familiar time for children all over the country: time to go back to school.
At Methodist McKinney Hospital, we know how important yearly physicals and immunization records are for the school year, yet with the return of the school year brings much uncertainty about your children’s health and wellbeing. That’s why it’s very important to discuss and implement standards and rules to ensure they stay healthy.
“With the back to school season upon us, there are numerous precautionary steps you can take to help this year go smoothly,” said family medicine physician Dr. Manju Pandey of Prosper Family Medicine. “Small changes in routine or the development of healthy habits can keep your kids healthy this year and well into the future.”
- Wash Your Hands – This is a no-brainer, but washing hands regularly helps significantly decrease the risk of spreading germs amongst children. Yes, the immune system will go to bat against any pesky germs throughout the day, but keeping your hands clean can go a long way.
- Cover Coughs and Sneezes – If you recall in the last section how we mentioned germs being spread amongst children, this is a primary way that occurs. Teaching your children to cover their mouths when they cough or sneeze is vital, but also being mindful of how they’re covering is equally important. If they cough and sneeze directly into their hand, think about everything that hand will touch and how quickly those germs will move from one child to another. Studies have shown that the most efficient and effective way to cover your coughs and sneezes are in the bend of your arm. Fewer germs are spread in the air and contact with is minimized using this method. If you teach this early on, it will become second nature and can help keep your and other children healthy.
- Don’t Share Food or Water Bottles – Are you seeing a pattern yet? Any activity or action that spreads germs should be avoided. The same goes for food and drink. With the increased usage of plastic water bottles, it can be easy to reuse them on multiple occasions – especially throughout the day. Ensuring that your children are only using their own bottles and eating their own food will help decrease the spread of germs and sickness. And don’t forget, before they eat – wash those hands!
- Make Sure to Play – This may not be one that you think about as frequently, but ensuring that your kids are staying active helps promote health, both physical and mental. Activity can help bolster the immune system as well as blood circulation, which helps the body fight infection. So encourage your kids to get out from in front of the television and get outside! It’s good for their health.
- Sleep – Getting a good night’s rest is imperative for staying healthy and happy. While each child is different, the recommended sleep times are as follows:
- 3-5 years, 10-12 hours/night
- 6-13 years, 9 to 11 hours/night
- 14-17 years, 8 to 10 hours/night
Sleep is when the body naturally repairs itself, so getting adequate rest on a nightly basis is important for maintaining health.
If you’re ever in need of medical attention, whether for yourself or your family, Methodist McKinney Hospital is here for you. Call us today at 972-569-2700 or visit our healthcare partners here and we’ll help you get back on the road to health and wellbeing.