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Healthy Lifestyle – August 2017


Reduce kids’ risk of getting colds at school

School-aged kids who catch colds or the flu from their classmates can quickly spread those colds to their family members, who then might spread the colds further when they go to work. Preventing the spread of colds and flu at school is a team effort that requires the assistance of not just parents, but also teachers and students. Still, parents might be the first line of defense when it comes to preventing the spread of cold and flu at school.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 38 million school days are lost to the flu each year. Those lost days can affect students who miss lesson plans, but also affect parents, who often must take days off from work to tend to their sick children.

While there’s no way for parents to guarantee their children won’t catch a cold or the flu this school year, they can take various preventive measures to increase kids’ chances of staying healthy and achieving perfect attendance.

• Make sure kids are immunized and that their immunizations are current. Vaccinations bolster kids immune systems. That’s important, as kids’ immune systems are naturally less mature than adults’, making them more vulnerable to germs and viruses. The CDC recommends that adults and children receive their flu vaccinations in October while noting that such vaccinations can be administered as late as January and still prove effective. The CDC also recommends that adults and children receive flu vaccinations each year. Additional vaccinations may not need to be administered as often, but parents should still ensure kids’ are up-to-date with their shots.
• Make sure kids regularly wash their hands. Kids often catch colds by rubbing their hands that have been exposed to cold virus germs on their noses or eyes. To prevent that, parents can teach kids to wash to their hands thoroughly, including scrubbing the backs of their hands, between their fingers and around their fingernails. Kids should know to wash their hands regularly, but especially after they use the bathroom and before they eat, drink or touch their mouths, noses or eyes.
• Keep kids home when they are sick. Parents don’t want their children to miss school, but kids who are suffering from colds or flu should be kept home. This prevents the spread of colds and flu to classmates and teachers, and time to rest at home may help youngsters recover more quickly.
• Teach kids to avoid common germ spots. Germs can be lurking anywhere, but some spots seem to make more welcome homes for germs than others. Studies have shown that kids were most likely to encounter germs in schools on water fountain spigots and on plastic cafeteria trays. Teach kids to never put their mouths on fountains and to avoid eating any food that might fall onto their trays in the cafeteria.
School-aged children are susceptible to colds and flu when spending time in the classroom. But parents can reduce their youngsters’ cold and flu risk in various ways.

Student physical examination tips

School time requires having all of the necessary supplies, clothing and gear ready for the year. In addition, preparing for a new school year often involves providing updated physical health information to the school administration.

The requirements for health screenings and reporting may vary between school districts. Some physical examinations need to be conducted annually, while others may only need updating at certain intervals, such as when kids transition from elementary school to middle school or middle school to high school. Updated physical forms also may be required at the start of a sports season.

Health screenings are intended to detect problems that may interfere with learning. Physical exams may indicate issues that can hamper progress or shed light on undiagnosed problems that may require further assessment and necessitate customized learning plans to help students succeed. Physical exams are also a way to ensure students’ immunizations are up to date.

According to the Department of Health, physical exams typically are completed by students’ primary care providers. Some school districts offer free or low-cost health assessments through school providers as well.

Students who will be traveling for school may be required to meet the health requirements of their destination country. For example, medical students admitted to a Canadian university may be required to get a medical exam, according to the Government of Canada.

Visiting the doctor, nurse practitioner or a school-provided medical professional may not make school-aged children too happy. To make the process go smoothly, consider these suggestions.

• Work with physicians who have access to electronic health records. EHRs are secure technology that provides easy access to vaccination records, health history, appointment reminders, and even prescription information. Some providers even make it possible for patients to directly access their health information through a secure login, helping save time.
• Make appointments during school hours. After-school appointments are peak times for pediatric offices and medical clinics. Sign students out of school early to visit the doctor for medical exams. The staff likely will be less harried, and you can spend more time asking questions and completing forms. Schools may not count the absence if a doctor’s note is provided.
• Don’t forget the forms. Bring the right paperwork so that the staff can fill out what is necessary for the school, camp or sports league.
• Know your insurance guidelines. Physical exams may be part of routine well visits. Insurance companies institute their own policies regarding how frequently physicals can be conducted (usually annually). Be sure to schedule the appointment accordingly.

Physical examinations are on many parents’ back-to-school to-do lists. Certain strategies can make physicals easier for adults and children alike.

Recognizing ADHD in children

As kids watch their last few days of summer vacation slowly slip away, their parents are preparing them for a return to the classroom. Some kids can’t wait to get back to school, where they can continue their studies and spend time with their friends. Others, though, might not look forward to new schoolwork, and that might be because of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD.

ADHD is a common condition in which children experience problems with paying attention or concentrating. Such problems can make it difficult for kids to excel in the classroom. Many children have ADHD. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, as many as 3 to 5 percent of children have ADHD, while other experts feel ADHD occurs in as many as 10 percent of school-aged children.

Because it’s so prevalent, ADHD is a concern for many parents, who want their children to enter the classroom on an even playing field. Parents who suspect their children have difficulty paying attention or concentrating can look for certain warning signs or symptoms of ADHD. Symptoms of ADHD in children are grouped into three categories: inattention, hyperactivity and impulsiveness.

Inattention will often not be noticeable until a child enters a school environment. A child with ADHD will:

• exhibit a tendency to make careless mistakes in school or other activities,
• frequently shift from one uncompleted activity to another,
• procrastinate,
• struggle to finish schoolwork or perform tasks that require concentration,
• be distracted by irrelevant stimuli.

Hyperactivity symptoms can manifest themselves rather early and are almost always present before a child reaches his or her seventh birthday. Symptoms of hyperactivity include:

• fidgeting or squirming when seated,
• frequently getting up to walk around,
• running or climbing excessively when it’s inappropriate,
• talking excessively.

Impulsivity can lead to accidents, be it knocking objects over or banging into people. Impulsive children may also engage in dangerous activities without considering the consequences. Symptoms may include:

• impatience,
• difficulty delaying responses,
• difficulty awaiting one’s turn,
• initiating conversations at inappropriate times,
• frequently interrupting or intruding on others.

Parents who want more information on ADHD can visit

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