By Sarah Willard, MD, Christie Clinic Department of Pediatrics
With the back-to-school season here, it’s essential to prepare not only your kids’ backpacks and school supplies but also their overall health and well-being. The proximity and interaction at schools can make it easier for illnesses to spread. However, with a few proactive steps, you can help keep your family healthy during this busy time of the year.
- Ensure that your family’s vaccinations are up-to-date. Vaccines help prevent the spread of contagious diseases and protect your children and the community at large.
- Hand Hygiene:
- Teach your children proper handwashing techniques and the importance of washing hands regularly, especially after using the restroom, before meals, and after sneezing or coughing.
- Ensure that everyone in the family washes their hands whenever they come home.
- Nutritious Meals:
- Provide balanced meals with a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats. A well-rounded diet supports immune system strength and energy levels.
- Boost Immunity Naturally:
- Include immune-boosting foods in your diet, such as citrus fruits, yogurt, garlic, and green tea. These foods provide vitamins and antioxidants that can help fend off infections.
- Stay Hydrated:
- Encourage your family to drink plenty of water throughout the day. Hydration supports various bodily functions, including the immune system.
- Physical Activity:
- Engage in regular physical activity as a family. Exercise supports overall health and can enhance the immune response. Consider going for walks, playing sports, or practicing yoga together.
- Prioritize Sleep:
- Ensure your family maintains a consistent sleep schedule, as adequate sleep is crucial for immune function and overall well-being.
- Set a bedtime routine that allows for 8-10 hours of quality sleep each night.
- Fresh Air:
- Getting fresh air is not only good for your physical health but for your mental health as well. Sharing enclosed spaces with others increases the chances of getting sick.
- If possible, try to ventilate your home as often as you can to let fresh air in.
- Properly Clean and Disinfect Surfaces: Wipe down high-trafficked surfaces in your home with disinfectant wipes.
- Light Switches
- Remote controls
- Stair Railings
- Lunch boxes & Backpacks
- Stress Management:
- Help your family manage stress through relaxation techniques, deep breathing exercises, and open communication.
- High stress levels can weaken the immune system, making it easier to fall ill.
Back-to-school time can be exciting, but it’s crucial to prioritize your family’s health during this period. By implementing these tips, you can help reduce the risk of illness and create a healthier environment for your loved ones. Remember that maintaining a healthy lifestyle is a continuous effort that benefits everyone year-round.
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