I am often asked by parents how to keep children healthy during the busy school year. I have some simple answers to share and some preventative measures that parents can implement to keep their child focused and in the classroom.
Get plenty of sleep. Children need a full eight hours of rest each night. Blocking out any light from coming into the bedroom and covering up any lights such as an alarm clock will help your child get a full night’s rest.
Eating right and staying hydrated during the day is important in our hot Arizona summer. Children have to be encouraged to drink water during activity. Avoid expensive sugary drinks or anything with caffeine as this can promote dehydration. Staying hydrated will prevent headaches and fatigue after activity. Reduce the amount of sugar intake. Encourage fresh fruits and vegetables when possible.
Frequent hand washing with soap and water is the easiest and most effective way to prevent the spread of communicable diseases! Teach your child to cough into a tissue or their upper sleeve and not their hands.
Be sure to keep your child up to date on their immunizations. Control of communicable diseases in the community is everyone’s responsibility and getting your vaccinations is the best prevention. With the increase of pertussis (whooping cough) in the state, adults are also encouraged to get their Tdap booster. Talk to your family medical provider to see if this is right for you.
If your child does get sick during the school year, be sure to have them stay home. Signs of illness can include: fever, diarrhea, severe sore throat, a draining wound or vomiting that continues. All children with a fever need to remain at home until they are fever free without the aid of fever reducing medication (Tylenol, ibuprofen etc).
Keeping your child healthy will make for a successful school year.
Nadine Miller, RN, MS, is director of health service for Mesa Public Schools.