Doctor gives school health tips

Published 8:04 pm Wednesday, August 26, 2015

By Alyssa Esposito

Staff Writer

As summer vacation winds down and the school year begins, it’s important to start your child’s new school year off right by preparing a plan for helping them to stay healthy.

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Recommendations from a local pediatrician include getting the proper immunizations, staying home when sick and good nutrition.

Many parents are concerned about children coming to school with fevers and infecting other children.

“If you have a fever, you probably shouldn’t be in school,” said Dr. Laura Leverone, a pediatrician at Suffolk Pediatrics. Officials consider a fever to be 100.4 or higher. Students should be sure to stay home when they are sick; this prevents the other students from contracting a cold, the flu or other infections.

Leverone said once all of the other required vaccinations are up to date, kindergarteners should receive the TDap, Polio, MMR and chickenpox vaccinations. Sixth-graders should have another TDap shot and are strongly recommended to get the meningitis shot. It is also strongly suggested that girls at this age receive the Gardasil shots.

When it comes to germs, they are difficult to avoid. There are so many students at each school that all use the same chairs, desks, books and bathrooms. Leverone said one of the best ways to avoid spreading germs in school is “definitely good hand washing.”

The pediatrician also recommends children coughing into their arms rather than into their hands.

Local parent Jennifer Brown said she advises her children on ways to avoid germs.

“I tell my kids (to) try not to touch their face when they are at school,” she said on Facebook. She said that she also tells them to “Cover their mouths when they have to cough or their nose when they have to sneeze.”

Children are recommended to have a full eight hours of sleep every night. However, while requiring your child to sleep eight hours every night is something to consider on a case-by-case basis, children should at least have a consistent bed time. With more sleep comes a better ability to function and pay attention throughout the day, Leverone said.