There are several reasons that it’s a good idea for your child to get a physical exam before going back to school each year, even if they are healthy. For example, you’re modeling how to participate in the process of healthcare by making those annual appointments and that is a crucial life skill that your child will carry into adulthood.
Annual visits also give you and Dr. Gandhi a clear picture of your child’s health and development. It provides an opportunity for any potential problems or issues to be caught and addressed early, as well as making sure all vaccinations are current.
Finally, many school districts require annual physical exams before students can participate in sports activities. By scheduling the appointment, you’re ahead of the game!
In addition to an annual physical exam, there are other things you can do to get your kid off to a healthy start this school year.
Some of the illnesses that students face every year include:
- Strep throat
- Stomach bugs
- Conjunctivitis (pink eye)
Each of these illnesses are extremely contagious and uncomfortable. They also all require days out of school to recover, disrupting everyone’s schedule.
The importance of hand washing
Most of the common illnesses in schools can be avoided by the liberal and frequent application of soap and water. Talk to your child about washing their hands after using the restroom, before and after eating, and after blowing their nose, coughing, or sneezing.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends teaching your child to wet their hands, lather up with soap, and to sing or hum “Happy Birthday” twice while vigorously scrubbing their hands together to get adequately clean.
Avoid touching the face
Talk to your child about not touching their face, especially anywhere near their eyes, nose, or mouth. This will prevent them from transmitting germs from their hands to places it can enter their bodies.
Sharing is good, but sometimes it’s not
Sharing drinks, food, or other items that can spread germs is a bad idea. Even sharing a brush or comb can present problems if head lice is a concern. Depending on your child’s age, you may need to talk to them about what is okay to share and what is not, explaining the reasons why.
Nutrition is a critical component of good health
When school starts, life gets busy for most families. Paying extra attention to your child’s diet during school can give their immune system a boost.
Eating a healthy balanced diet contributes to overall health, so even if your kid does come into contact with germs, their body is more capable of combating illness. Focus on providing whole grains, vegetables, fruit, and lean protein for optimal results.
A healthy breakfast and well-balanced lunch can make a huge difference in your child’s health. If mornings are difficult, consider batch-cooking, or having simple, quick options such as whole-grain toast with nut butter and fruit on hand.
Book your appointment for a back-to-school checkup with Dr. Gandhi online or by phone today. He’s happy to answer questions about your child’s overall health as well as provide specific advice that will help your kid stay healthy this school year!