5 Back to School Health Tips

It’s that time of year again. Back to school with new teachers, new clothes, and new germs. It’s common for children returning to school to come home with more than homework. Coughs, colds, and stomach bugs can sweep across schools quickly. They can also take down an entire household when a child brings home a contagious bug from school. These illnesses are caused by bacteria, fungi, parasites, and viruses that are passed from one person to another. Germs are easily spread when one person touches a contaminated object (like door knobs, desks, and faucet handles) and then touches their eyes, nose, or mouth.

The Children’s Wellness Center sees an increase in sick patients every Fall after school starts. According to the CDC, 40% of school aged children miss 3 days of school due to illness. This year we want to help you and your family stay well despite the new germs that back to school brings.

So, how do you protect your child from bringing home more than homework? Here are 5 back to school health tips to help your child and your family stay healthy:

  1. Good hand washing is the best way to prevent the spread of germs. Have your children wash their hands with antibacterial soap first thing when they get home from school.
  2. Make sure your child’s vaccinations are up to date before school starts.
  3. Pack hand sanitizer in your child’s backpack and lunch box. A travel size hand sanitizer is great for the backpack, and sanitizing hand wipes are convenient for the lunch box.
  4. Have everyone in your family get the Flu vaccine as soon as it’s available.
  5. Nurture your immune system with healthy foods and plenty of sleep.

We’ve used Sickweather, a social health network that scans social networks for indicators of illness, to show what’s currently happening in the Chicago South Suburb area. Below are maps indicating the locations of fevers, coughs, and cases of strep throat in and around Chicago Ridge and Orland Park.

Updated August 6, 2014; Sickwether.com
Social indicators of fever cases in and around Chicago South suburbs. Updated August 6, 2014; Sickwether.com
Cough map for Orland Park, Chicago Ridge, and Chicago South Suburbs.
Social indicators of cough cases in and around Chicago South suburbs. Updated August 6, 2014; Sickwether.com
Strep Throat map of Orland Park, Chicago Ridge, and Chicago South Suburb areas.
Social indicators of Strep Throat cases in and around Chicago South suburbs. Updated August 6, 2014; Sickwether.com





































More on this topic:

Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s  Back-to-School-Checklist




The Children’s Wellness Center is a private practice in Chicago’s south suburbs that is committed to providing high quality medical care for healthy and sick children from birth to 18-years-old and supporting their families. All of our physicians are Board Certified in Pediatrics and fellows of the American Academy of Pediatrics.

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