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24/7 Guide to Back-to-School Season!

 

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24/7 Guide to Back-to-School Season!

The new school year is about to start, and everyone is rushing to the stores to buy new back-packs, pens, notebooks and binders. Amidst all this excitement, it is even more important to make sure that your child remains healthy during the school year. We’ve put together a useful list of back to school health tips to help ensure an enjoyable, healthy school year.

 

Scheduling bedtime

During the summer, many children fall into a vacation ‘sleep cycle,’ staying up late and sleeping during the day. It is recommended that parents gradually start imposing an earlier bedtime several weeks before school begins. A week before school, a child’s sleep pattern should have regulated to that of the “school schedule.”  Five year olds need about 10-13 hours of sleep, and 6-12 year olds need 9-12 hours of sleep.  If your child is not getting enough sleep, they will have trouble concentrating, become irritable, and may fall asleep during classes.

 

Eating during the school day

Adding a snack or two to your child’s lunchbox helps ensure that he is getting the energy he needs to play and pay attention in the classroom. Not just any snack will do it, whole grain bread sandwiches with lean meat, cheese, or egg filling are good choices; salad, fruit, yogurt, nuts, and raisins are also good options. Avoid cookies, chips, candy and soda, which are low in nutrients and high in sugar. Children above the age of two should be shifted to low fat or fat free dairy products.  It is also important that children drink enough water during the school day as dehydration can cause headaches, tiredness, and poor concentration.

 

Physical Activity

Obesity in children is becoming a more common and serious health concern.  In addition to ensuring a healthy diet, it is also important to encourage children to participate in physical activities like sports. Children should engage in at least 60 minutes of physical activity every day, and sedentary activities should be minimized.  Screen-time should be limited to no more than two hours per day.

 

 

Backpack safety

Choose a backpack with wide, padded shoulder straps and a padded back.  When you pack, pack light and organize items in a way that uses all of the backpacks compartments. Heavier items should be packed closest to the center of the back. Most importantly, the backpack should never weigh more than 10 to 20 percent of your child’s body weight.  Advise your child to always use both shoulder straps, since slinging a backpack over one shoulder can strain muscles.

 

 

Fight germs

Germs can spread from one child to another at school in several ways:

  • Direct contact when a sick child touches another child
  • Indirect contact when a sick child touches an object such as a toy or surface. The germs spread to that object or surface and can survive for several hours to several weeks then transfer to anyone who touches that object or surface
  • Droplet transmission when a sick child coughs or sneezes. The germs in droplets of mucus or saliva can travel through the air to another child or surface.

 

Here are some ways to help protect your child from germs and illness at school.

 

Hand Hygiene

Regular hand washing is one of the single best ways to fight infection. Children should be instructed in the importance of proper hand washing before eating and after using the restroom. For situations where hand washing is not possible, consider supplying your child (above 6 years old) with a hand sanitizer. To be effective, a sanitizer should contain at least 60% alcohol that’s why it can be harmful if swallowed by children.

 

Teach Your Child Germ Etiquette

Teach your child to stay away from sick children as much as possible. Also, your child should cover their mouth when coughing or sneezing to prevent spreading infection. Advise your child to sneeze into a tissue, throw it in the trash right after, and then to directly wash their hands. If this is not possible, he should cough or sneeze into the crook of his elbow (the area where the elbow bends) and not his hands.

 

Get Immunized

Make sure your child is up to date on scheduled immunizations. While most schools require up-to-date document of immunization for admission, be sure to keep your own copy of any records.

 

 

 

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Tabibi 24/7 is the leading pediatric service in Cairo, operating 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and providing comprehensive pediatric care including sick visits, well-checks and vaccinations. Tabibi 24/7 also offers general and family medicine for adults and pediatric surgery.

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