http://www.meriter.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/Star-Country_Keeping-Kids-Healthy-Dr-Millin-2011-09-21.mp3 Meriter pediatrician, Kristin Millin, MD, spoke with Star Country’s Tracy and Mike about keeping kids healthy at school. Click the play button to listen!
The start of the school year is an exciting time for kids, with exposure to all kinds of new things … new friends, new teachers and new germs. With flu season also just around the corner, many parents wonder what they can do to keep their kids healthy during the school year. Dr. Kristin Millin, pediatrician at Meriter West Washington, offers these tips:
1. The most important things to do to help your child stay healthy during the school year is to make sure your children are eating healthy foods – especially a healthy breakfast – and getting enough sleep. Any school age child should be getting at least 10-12 hours of sleep at night. The sleep issue can be difficult when you have working parents and after-school activities, but it is important for our bodies to have good sleep in order to recover from our busy days.
2. Parents are the best and most influential role models for children, and we need to not only teach them to cough/sneeze into our elbow, but also to wash our hands after using the bathroom. An easy way to check to see if your child has washed their hands is to have smelly/foamy soap in your bathroom. It is easy for children to rub on their hands and the scent is so potent, you can easily tell if they have used it.
3. Another important way to stay healthy during the school year is to get a flu shot. Influenza is a 1-2 week illness with significant fevers and respiratory symptoms, and it is best for everyone in the family to get immunized. Call your primary care clinic to schedule a flu shot appointment.
If you child does get sick, deciding whether to send your child to school or let them stay in bed can be a tough call. Keep your child home from school if s/he has a fever of 100 degrees or higher, vomits or has diarrhea. Also, if s/he has been diagnosed with the flu or has severe cold symptoms (constant coughing, sneezing, etc), you probably should keep her/him home so he doesn’t spread the illness to others.