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Back-to-School Health Guidance to Start the Semester Off Right

It’s hard to believe, but the summer months are waning, fall is right around the corner, and schools are back in session – with many more opening their doors every week. It’s been a strange, challenging, and interesting few years for our kids as they learn and grow, and parents continue to have questions and concerns about the best steps to take to keep their kids safe and healthy as they do so.

Here is some back-to-school health guidance that can help you and your students start the semester strong.

  1. Create an atmosphere of excitement: Parents of younger children, particularly, can help to assuage fears and anxieties by discussing the start of school with their kids in advance, and fostering positive feelings about new experiences. That being said, there’s no question that the last few years have been filled with ups and downs, school closings, and various other curriculum hurdles. Older children and teens may also have worries and stress. Facilitating an open dialogue is important.
  2. Take COVID precautions: If your children develop suspected COVID symptoms, it is important to have them tested early. PCR tests conducted by medical professionals are ideal to prevent the spread of illness. Children 5 and older are now also eligible for booster shots, which provide significant protection against severe illness and hospitalization.
  3. Prioritize sleep: The summer months for many families are more relaxed when it comes to enforcing bedtimes. Now that the school year is ramping back up, getting ample sleep will be imperative for academic success (and getting to class on time in the morning). Talk to your doctor about improving sleep habits. Again, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends 9-12 hours of rest for kids ages 6-12, and at least 8-10 hours for teens. Take care to establish relaxing routines before bed and keep to your schedule. Shut down electronics and stow away screens at least an hour before the kids go to bed.
  4. Get a checkup: The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests children get an annual physical before starting school once again. Not only does a checkup help to ease parents’ minds, but it also addresses any issues that could be obstacles to your child’s success. Wellness visits before the start of school are also integral if your child is involved in sports programs. Breathing, heart, and musculoskeletal concerns can be discussed and ruled out before the big games begin. The importance of nutrition and regular exercise will also be covered.

First Call Medical Center  is open daily for your medical needs and annual checkups, and also offers sports physicals, routine vaccinations, and more.