When the bell rings at the beginning of yet another school year, parents already have plenty on their minds. There are supplies and uniforms to be purchased, forms to be filled out, and fees to pay. Soon, there will be homework and projects to complete and tests to take as well. And, of course, there will be doctor appointments.
Given the change in seasons and the sudden close proximity to so many other children, it’s really no wonder that illness and doctor visits seem to skyrocket during the early months of the school year. Runny noses, sore throats, and ear infections seem to keep the waiting rooms full. In fact, 80 percent of missed work and school is attributable to ENT-related illnesses. And, while these may be fairly minor and quickly resolved, we understand that, as a parent, your goal is always to keep your child healthy and safe. With that in mind, here are some steps you can take to limit ENT-related problems this school year:
Get a Good Night’s Rest
Inadequate sleep not only makes it difficult for children to focus during their school day, it also lowers the ability of their immune systems to fight off illness. In general, school-aged children should get a good 10 – 11 hours of sleep each night.
Eat for Health
Just like a car, when your body is given the appropriate type of fuel, it performs at an optimal level. A healthy balance of vitamins and nutrients will help your child stay healthy and bounce back faster. Vitamin C, for instance, has been shown to help with the frequency, duration, and severity of colds. Additionally, a healthy diet will give your child the added bonus of being able to remain alert and perform well in class.
Get Kids Moving
Exercise and regular movement is necessary to keep our bodies healthy. Not only will it keep off weight and protect long-term against serious health issues, it can also help prevent seasonal illnesses such as a cold or the flu. For kids, getting in this exercise should be particularly easy to achieve through some activities they may already commonly enjoy such as bike riding, playing a game of tag, or being involved in sports. However, if your child prefers video games or a tablet to the great outdoors, it’s time to encourage them to get moving.
Keep Hands Clean
Hand washing is “hands down” the best way to prevent the spread of germs and illness. We unwittingly touch a lot of germy surfaces throughout the day and then touch our faces, or grab a snack. Each time we come into contact with bacteria, we increase our odds of getting sick. Children in particular are exposed to many different germs throughout their day and many don’t wash their hands as often or as well as they should. Encourage your child to wash his or her hands multiple times throughout the day and always after using the restroom or before eating. Teach them to sing “Happy Birthday” twice as they scrub in order to ensure they have washed adequately.
While following these tips is a great way to help keep illnesses at bay, even the most vigilant among us will still get sick from time to time. If you or your child fall prey to back to school germs and develop an ENT-related illness, contact Lane to request an appointment with an ENT physician. Our team will have you in fast and feeling better as quickly as possible.