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Healthy Living

Back-To-School Health Q&A with Stephanie

Aug 2 2022

Just over a year ago, Bon Secours Legacy Early College Health Center opened to provide a close and convenient care option for students at the nearby school.

It’s a reminder that education is not one-dimensional. Many factors, including health care, can affect a child’s learning. Just ask Stephanie Buhr, the nurse practitioner who works at this health center.

Stephanie knows the transition from summer to school can be tricky, especially because it includes new routines and early bedtimes as well as trying to stay healthy with all those pesky, school-time illnesses going around. She was kind enough to offer some of her thoughts to help parents keep their children happy and healthy this school year.

Read Stephanie’s advice below.

Q: As a new school year is quickly approaching, what are some ways for a child to stay physically and mentally healthy?

A: “It’s recommended school-aged children get at least 60 minutes of activity a day. It’s also best to keep kids as active as possible versus spending too much time sitting in front of a screen. Basically, make sure to give them time to play and to just be a kid.

Also, make sure your kids have strong connections with the people in their life. This will promote open communication, which is extremely important in a young person’s life. Overall, be present and aware of their mental health and signs that show that they might not be OK.

And finally, ensuring kids get enough sleep and maintain good nutrition are also key to a healthy lifestyle.”

Q: As parents and students prepare to go back to school, what should they know about school-time illnesses?

A: “Being in the classroom and around more people on a daily basis places students at a higher risk of catching infections. Exposure to different illnesses is both good and bad. It’s good because it helps build up a child’s immunity.

Most students will have up to six or seven different illnesses throughout the course of the school year. This may seem like a lot, but really, it is just part of growing up and being around other people.

So, as you begin to prepare for the new school year, expect for your child to be down for the count at least a few times. Know that your child’s health care provider is expecting this as well and it there to help them out if needed.”

Q: What are some of the more common illnesses that parents should be aware of?

A: “Common colds and upper respiratory issues are usually some of the most seen illnesses during the school year. Rashes and other infections that are often spread by touch are more common as the kids head back to school, as well as stomach bugs and viruses.

Most school-related illnesses are very contagious, especially for younger children as they don’t have as many boundaries and they are often interacting with each other.

To help prevent the spread of these illnesses, make sure your child is washing their hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds – and if hand sanitizer is the only option, make sure it contains at least 60 percent alcohol. Overall, if your child is sick, or there is an illness going around in your community, stay away from others and follow your school’s guidelines so that everyone can respond appropriately.”

Q: If sick, when should I take my child to the doctor?

“Many school-related illnesses can be treated at home, but it never hurts to check with your child’s health care provider if you’re concerned or want some advice on what to do to make your child feel better.”

Q: What else can I do to ensure my child stays healthy as they head back to school?

“My best piece of advice is not waiting to start getting your child ready for the start of a new school year. Start setting up routines now that way your child has time to adjust.

Keeping a good routine is extremely important when going back to school, and it has a huge impact on a child’s younger years and school experience. Sleep is so vital for a child’s development, as well as their participation and interactions during the school day – which all start with a good routine at home.”

Learn about the primary care services as well as pediatric services we offer at Bon Secours.

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