For many, getting back into the fall routine of school, activities, practice and homework is an exciting time. And as groups come back together and the weather shifts pushing everyone indoors, it’s critical to stay healthy to continue these experiences. There are many simple things kids and adults alike can do to reduce their chances of getting sick.
“One thing we’ve all learned over the past couple years are ways to limit the spread of infections and that’s something that we can easily carry into our everyday routines to help keep more students in the classroom,” said Neena Tripathy, MD, FAAP, associate medical director, Carle Pediatric Primary Care. “It’s more important than ever to stay up to date on vaccinations and to stay consistent with scheduling physicals and visits to your pediatrician and primary care provider to best manage long-term health goals.”
Read on for more tips from Dr. Tripathy about how to stay healthy and well as we transition back to school.
Get a physical – Getting an annual school or sports physical is an important way to maintain lines of communication with a trusted healthcare provider and track growth and development. They also offer patients and guardians the opportunity to raise any concerns.
Stay up to date on vaccines – Getting appropriate vaccinations is one of the best ways to reduce the amount of illness in your community and limit spread, which helps keep everyone well. Kids are very used to receiving vaccinations and some may be required to continue attending school. You can check the American Academy of Pediatrics to see which vaccines are most appropriate per age group. Being up to date on vaccines like the COVID-19 and flu vaccine are especially important for crowded environments like schools and congregant living spaces.
Don’t skip out on sleep – It may seem obvious that a baby or toddler needs a solid sleep routine to adequately grow, but it’s just as important for children and adult health. There are many negative implications to not getting enough sleep – like overeating, mood swings and lower immunity.
Wash your hands – Washing your hands and using hand sanitizer often reduces the chance for germs to travel from different surfaces to your face. Make sure even the youngest students know the proper way to wash their hands and have access to personal hand sanitizer.
Maintain mental health – It’s just as important to manage anxiety, stress and other behavioral health challenges as it is to manage physical health. Guardians should look for signs of these issues and create open lines of communication and support to help kids feel empowered to come forward. Mental stress can also lead to physical stress and irregularities, which can also be a sign of a larger problem.
Carle has information and services to help everyone stay well this back-to-school season. Contact your pediatrician or primary care provider with questions or to set an appointment.