Back to School Health – 7 Ways to Maintain Your Child’s Good Health During the School Year

Going back to school is an exciting time. New friends, schedules, and opportunities make the days full and pass quickly. But along with all the new experiences come a ton of germs. Here are 7 ways that you can consistently reduce the germ count and help your student stay healthy.
1. Wash Hands-This is basic and low tech, but still incredibly effective. Wash hands immediately upon entering the house, and if possible sanitize or wash hands upon arriving at school. Doing this consistently cuts down on germs that are transferred from one location to another. Not only should your student wash hands frequently but all family members.
2. Use Sanitizer for Hands-When washing with soap and water is not possible, hand sanitizer is the next best thing. Keep small bottles of it in the car, back pack, and purse so that it is readily available when water is not.
3. Sanitize Common Surfaces-Regularly use sanitizer or disposal wipes to clean door handles, draw pulls, computer keyboards, cell phones and other hand-held electronics, remote controls, car seats, and door handles in the car. These are all places where germs wait to gain access to you and your family. 
4. Get Vaccinated-Make sure your student gets the flu shot as early as possible and well ahead of the start of flu season. It takes a while for the vaccination to become effective so the sooner the shot is given, the more prepared the body is to combat the virus should your child be exposed.
Since Swine Flu has become a pandemic, be sure that your child is also vaccinated for the H1N1 virus which should be given in addition to the regular flu only should school age children be vaccinated, but all adults who are healthy enough to receive it.
5. Eat Healthy-Help your student maintain a healthy and balanced diet of fresh fruits, vegetables, protein, and fluids. Check with your student’s physician to fine tune any concerns about diet. A well fed body is more likely to be able to respond well to viruses and bacteria than one that is not.
6. Get Adequate Rest-Make sure your student’s schedule allows for adequate down time. This is time when it’s okay to just relax and do nothing if they choose. You know your child best and are able to judge how much sleep is right. Make sure that they get 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night so they can face each day rejuvenated and energized. Being well rested lowers their stress level and helps them respond to life’s situations in a more positive way.
7. Filter the Air-Part of resting well is being able to sleep well. Removing normal airborne household pollutants such as dust, dust mites, mold and mildew spores, pet dander, bacteria and viruses from the air, particularly in your child’s room at night, insures that their sleep is uninterrupted. Regardless of whether your child suffers from allergies or asthma, this is an excellent way to help your child breathe easier and stay healthy.

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