Back to school: Tips to make sure your child starts the school year healthy

Back to school: Tips to make sure your child starts the school year healthy

WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - As you prepare to send your children back to school, make sure they are ready for a healthy return to the classroom.

CVS MinuteClinic Nurse Practitioner Megan Monroe advises if you have a young child heading to kindergarten or the first grade, take time to teach them basic hygiene. It will go a long way toward germ prevention.

Her tips include:

  1. Wash hands with soap and warm water at least 20 seconds before eating and after going to the bathroom. Singing the Happy Birthday song twice will help them judge timing for hand washing.
  2. In general, learn to keep your hands away from your face, mouth, nose and other areas where germs can spread.
  3. If they have to cough or sneeze, teach them to use a tissue and throw it away after use. If a tissue is not available, cough into the sleeve and not their hands.
  4. Don’t share personal items especially water bottles, food and – for the older kids - towels in the locker room. Don’t share hats, headbands, scarfs and other headwear. That’s how lice can spread.

She also said parents should determine if their child needs a school or sports physical.

For a child entering school for the first time in North Carolina for kindergarten or first grade or those who lived out of state previously, parents must present a record of physical examination that happened within the last 12 months.

Also, if you plan for your child to play recreational or school sports, he or she will need a pre-participation physical in advance of beginning try-outs practice and games.

Monroe said the MinuteClinic offers both.

Parents will also want to consult with a pediatrician or expert about what vaccines are required for school.

If your child is entering kindergarten or first grade for the first time, the following seven vaccinations are required:

  1. DTaP (Diphtheria, Tetanus and Pertussis)
  2. Hepatitis B
  3. MMR (Measles, Mumps and Rubella)
  4. IPV (Polio)
  5. Varicella (chicken pox)
  6. Pneumococcal
  7. HIB or Haemophilius Influenzae

Two additional vaccines are needed prior to seventh grade:

  1. Tdap booster (Diphtheria, Tetanus and Pertussis)
  2. Meningococcal conjugate vaccine to protect against Meningititis

Monroe also highlights three other recommendations from the CDC:

  1. Every student should get an annual flu shot. These will be available at MinuteClinic locations toward the end of this month and should be obtained before October and the beginning of flu season.
  2. The HPV vaccination is available for girls and boys age 11 to 12 to prevent against HPV infections that can lead to cancer later in life.
  3. Lastly, there is the Meningococcal Group B vaccine to protect against another strain of meningitis that should be given beginning at age 16.

Monroe will join us on WECT News First at Four on Wednesday to elaborate more on these important health considerations that should be a part of the back-to-school checklist for parents and children.

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