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Health tips on school resumption

27th Jan, 2020 | By Dr Harrison Samuel | ||

It is hard to believe that another holiday is quickly coming to a close. As back to school is right around the corner. Getting your kids ready to start the school year involves more than finding the perfect backpack, buying school supplies, and shopping for new clothes. It means safeguarding their health so they'll be physically ready for the challenges of heading back to school. Below are some health tips that will help.

1. Visit Your Doctor:
There are required immunizations that need to be completed so that a child can enter school. These immunizations are described and listed on the immunization schedule. Make sure your child is up to date. In addition, depending on your child's age and medical conditions, there may be other immunizations that are recommended. So, definitely check with your doctor on this. An annual physical exam by a doctor will ensure your child is healthy and virus-free before going back to class. This is also a perfect time to update any prescriptions and have medication or other forms signed by your child's doctor as needed.

2. Wash hands:
According to World Health Organization (WHO) , the most effective way to avoid spreading or catching germs is hand washing. To encourage kids and make sure they've spent enough time on this healthful task, ask them to sing the alphabet song or "Happy Birthday to You" from start to finish as they wash the fronts and backs of their hands and in-between fingers. Simple soap and water is best, but hand sanitizers will do when soap and water aren't available. By teaching your children how to wash hands properly—and to especially wash after blowing nose, using the bathroom and before eating—you can help them reduce the risk of getting sick, and keep them from infecting others if they catches an infection or illness Remind your children to always cough or sneeze into the crooks of their elbows or into their sleeves.

3. Change That Sleep Schedule Now:
Studies have shown that adequate sleep is critical for academic success. For adults, it can take about a week to get used to a new sleep schedule. However, in young children, it can take longer than that. Consider starting that new (and earlier) sleep schedule now. A good first step is to have the child limit screen time or just turn off electronic devices well before bedtime. Help your child with this transition by encouraging reading or playing quiet games an hour before going to bed. Insufficient sleep is associated with lower academic achievement in middle school, high school and college, as well as higher rates of absenteeism and tardiness. The optimal amount of sleep for most younger children is 10-12 hours per night and for adolescents (13-18 year of age) is in the range of 8-10 hours per night.

4. Don't forget the Breakfast:
Studies also show that children who eat a healthy breakfast function better. Fruits, vegetables, nuts and whole grains will give your child's body the best chance to fight off those pesky back-to-school germs. Try to pack at least two-thirds of your child's lunchbox with plant-based foods. Then add lean protein like chicken, fish or a plant-based protein. Avoid sugary drinks, especially soda and juice.

5. Backpack Safety:
Choose a backpack with wide padded shoulder straps and a padded back. Remind your child to always use both shoulder straps. Pack light, and remove unneeded items. The backpack should never weigh more than 10-20% of your child's body weight. Slinging a backpack over one shoulder can strain muscles. Adjust the pack so that the bottom sits at your child's waist.

6. Beware of Bullying:
Bullying or cyberbullying is when one child picks on another child repeatedly. Bullying can be physical, verbal, or social. It can happen at school, on the playground, on the school bus, in the neighborhood, over the Internet, or through mobile devices like cell phones. Teach your child when and how to ask a trusted adult for help at school. Monitor your child's social media and text interactions so you can identify problems before they get out of hand. Encourage your child to tell a trusted adult about the bullying. Encourage your child to join with others in telling bullies to stop. Help your child support other children who may be bullied. Encourage your child to include these children in activities.

7. Check for head lice
Notice any excessive head scratching? Stress the importance to your child of not sharing combs, hats, and clothes, and send your child's own pillow on a sleepover.

8. Don't forget "Exercise"
When children go back back to school, it can be easy to get wrapped up in daily routines and forget about basic things like fitness. However, if you make exercise a part of everyone's schedule early on in the year, you'll avoid the back-to-school slump. For reference, remember that children and adolescents need about an hour of physical activity each day, and they're only active for about 25 minutes throughout their school week in physical education classes! This means that exercise at home is absolutely necessary. Statistics show that childhood obesity has more than doubled while adolescent obesity has quadrupled over the last 30 years. Making exercise a family event can make it easier to get everyone motivated.

9. Lookout for Stress:
Homework, tests, social pressures—kids can face a lot of stressful situations every day. Research shows that stress and anxiety can have a negative impact on kids' health, just like it can on the health of adults. Find out how to spot the symptoms of stress in your child and find ways to manage his anxiety.

10. Get back into the habit of twice-daily tooth brushing:
If your kids took a break this summer from brushing their teeth twice a day, now's the time to resume the habit. Besides an increased risk of cavities, poor oral health can also lead to missed school days and lower grades. To keep their teeth and gums healthy, experts recommend kids brush for two minutes twice a day and floss once a day. You can help make the task more enjoyable by turning it into a game, like encouraging your kids to brush away the "sugar bugs" or playing their favorite two-minute song to make the time go by faster.

If children do fall ill, keep them away from school. This helps protect other children (and teachers!) from germs, and helps protect the sick child from picking up anything else while they are vulnerable. If a child has a fever it is especially important to keep them away from school as this is when they are most contagious. These are just a few tips to get you started. The bottom line is that this is such an exciting time for kids as they resume academic activities. Don't forget to have some fun in the process of getting ready to go back to school!

News Update

Malam Bello acknowledged and commended the good work of all health workers in FCT, especially for their efforts at combating the coronavirus.

Speaking to journalists last week at Asokoro District Hospital, where he is currently receiving treatment, Dr. Kawu explained that his journey to the isolation center began 12 days earlier when he experienced feverish conditions, prompting him to take the COVID-19 test which turned out positive.

Executive Secretary, Federal Capital Development Authority (FCDA), Engr. Umar Gambo Jibrin, sounded the note of warning when he led an inter-departmental technical committee on inspection tour of some parts of the nation's capital city to assess the level of degradation perpetrated through activities of illegal developers

Chairman of the newly constituted FCT Ministerial Task Force on City Sanitation, Ikharo Attah handed the ultimatum during stakeholders' meeting with owners of businesses around the area on Monday.


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