Physician tips for a healthy school year

By Liz Meszaros, MDLinx
Published August 11, 2017

Key Takeaways

Even before the kids go back to school, parents should be preparing their children for a healthy start, according to the medical experts at UT Physicians, the clinical practice of McGovern Medical School, The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, Houston, TX.

“Well visits are important because they give us a chance to evaluate a child’s general health, growth, and development,” said Ali Naqvi, MD, pediatrician, UT Physicians and Community Health & Wellness Center—Jensen. “We also test their vision and hearing.”

Here are seven tips for physicians to share with parents to help make sure their kids get a healthy start:

  1. Ease back into a school sleep schedule: A few weeks before school begins, start getting children up earlier in the morning and getting them to bed a little earlier as well. The goal should be a change of about 15 minutes earlier for both waking and sleeping with each consecutive day.
  2. Buy the right backpack: In 2013, over 5,400 backpack-related injuries were treated in emergency roomz (ERs) across the United States. Parents should buy age-appropriate backpacks, and make sure kids are not overloading them. Also remind children that the best way to lift a backpack is bending at the knees.
  3. Make sure vaccinations are up to date: Reducing a child’s risk of measles, whooping cough, tetanus, diphtheria, and other illnesses depends on timely inoculations. Parents should check the vaccine recommendations for different age groups, and make sure to have children caught up before they start school.
  4. Screen for vision problems: Over one-third of children in the US aged 12 to 17 are nearsighted. Yearly vision screens are important for maintaining a child’s visual health, and they should be screened at least yearly, especially if they report headaches while reading or squinting.
  5. Keep up on well-child visits: Monitoring a child’s health is easier when parents and doctors work together. Well-visits are a good time to establish a healthy rapport between parents and physicians, and to check for any problems.
  6. Protect their teeth: Dental health is also important in children. Regular visits with a dentist are important to keep kids cavity-free. If they are engaged in school sports, dentists can custom fit the proper mouthguards necessary to avoid broken teeth.
  7. Watch for signs of hearing loss: Auditory health is also important to assess in children on a regular basis, and can help avoid many problems during the school year and beyond.
Share with emailShare to FacebookShare to LinkedInShare to Twitter