Iredell News

Section: Iredell News

08/14/2017

Back to School Health and Your Child: What You Need to Know

We are approaching the final weeks of summer vacation and soon children across Iredell County will be back in the classroom. One of the keys to a successful school year is taking steps to make sure your child is healthy and ready to learn. Lori Sumner, PA-C of Pellegrino Family Medicine in Mooresville, answers important back-to-school health questions to help you and your family start this school year off on the right foot.

Q: Do all children need to have a physical at the beginning of the school year?

A: Yearly physicals are beneficial to parents and children for preventive screening. These exams allow for monitoring of growth and developmental milestones, immunization status, vision concerns, and attention to family history that could be risk factors for your children. Often, there’s no time to address these issues during sick visits so it is recommended to have an annual physical each year.

Q: When should parents take their children for an eye exam? What are some red flags for vision problems?

A: Most of a child’s learning is visual, so vision screening should be performed on a regular basis. Early signs of visual disturbance include sitting too close to the TV, eye rubbing, squinting, headaches, light sensitivity, eyes hurting, and problems with academic performance.

Q: How can parents prevent back problems from overloaded backpacks?

A: We know how heavy our kid’s backpacks are! Shop for a backpack that is made of a lightweight material and has individual compartments for books and computers. Shoulder straps should be padded and wide (about 2”). Encourage your child to only carry what is necessary for that day in school, especially if they are on an “A day” or “B day” schedule.

Q: How can parents help establish a good sleep schedule for the school year?

A: Routine is key. Encourage your child to go to bed near the same time every night, and try to stay close to the same schedule on the weekends. Avoid a lot of physical activity right before bedtime and encourage a quiet period 30 minutes before bedtime. Keep the bedroom at a comfortable temperature and avoid having children fall asleep with a TV on.

Q: What kind of medical information should I share with my child’s school? (Allergies, medical conditions, etc.)

A: Make sure all emergency contact information is up to date at the school. Schools should be aware of any medications that your child is regularly taking and any chronic conditions that your child is under medical care for. Allergies should be documented along with any emergency action plans that are in place from your child’s doctor.

Q: Is there anything else parents should keep in mind health-wise as kids go back to school?

A: Healthy students are better learners. Encourage your child to eat a well-balanced diet with foods rich in protein, vitamins, and minerals as opposed to a diet full of processed foods, sweets, and fried foods. Participating in regular physical activity at least 30 minutes daily has been shown to increase concentration and focus.

To schedule your child’s back-to-school checkup or to make an appointment for anyone in your family, call Pellegrino Family Medicine at 704-360-9299.

Categories: General News