Pediatric Care Center

Today's Medicine With a Tender Touch

Back to School Health Tips

By: Dr. Virginia Grace Cohen

Start your child out on a healthy and happy path this fall! Here are some health tips:

1. Wash Hands

The single best way to prevent the spread of germs is hand washing. Going back to

school means your kids will come into contact with EVERYTHING – strep throat, the

common cold, the influenza virus, and possibly diarrheal illnesses such as norovirus.

Remind children to wash their hands before they sit down to snacks or mealtimes.


2. Get a Flu Shot

Fall means flu season is approaching, and it’s time for every member of your family to get a flu shot. Find the PCC’s upcoming flu clinic dates. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that everyone 6 months or over receive the influenza vaccine. The vaccine is especially important for infant caregivers, children under 5 and children with chronic medical conditions such as asthma and diabetes. See the AAP's flu vaccine recommendations for 2017-2018.


3. Schedule all Required Vaccines

If your child is behind on your school’s required vaccinations, now is the time to schedule a check-up to make sure he or she is up to date on all of these. Through school and extracurricular activities, kids can potentially be exposed to serious illnesses, and the best way to make sure they stay safe and healthy is to get vaccinated. See the AAP's recommended immunization schedule for children and adolescents.


4. Pack Healthy Lunches

We know – easier said than done. But habits are formed early in life, and if you introduce healthy foods into your children’s diets early on, they will be more likely to eat healthily for the rest of their lives. We recommend that each lunch include a lean protein, a serving of a fruit or vegetable, and a serving of whole-grain carbohydrates. Limit sweets and choose water or milk instead of juice and soda.


Tip: get your children involved in the process – have them help make their own lunches if possible. They will be more likely to eat a meal they packed themselves.


5. Talk to Your Kids

This might seem obvious, but the best way to stay involved with your children’s lives is to talk to them about what’s going on. Whether it’s a chat after school or at the dinner table, make sure to ask them about their day and look for signs of unhappiness.Causes of stress, such as bullying or academic problems, can often be identified earlier if parents are paying attention.And if you become concerned that your child is exhibiting signs of depression, don’t hesitate to schedule an appointment to chat with your pediatrician. The more you talk with your child, the more they will tell you.


Going back to school is a busy and exciting time, so keep these tips in mind and look forward to a safe and healthy school year!