Preparing For the School Year Ahead
As we prepare for our little ones to head back to school, it's important for parents and guardians to do what they can to set them up for success. The health experts at Henry County Health are here to share some tips to help your family get ready for the school year ahead,
Make Sure They’re Up-to-Date on Vaccinations
From birth on through their teenage years, your little ones’ bodies are going through continuous changes—including their immune health. Getting vaccinated during their youth helps children to develop well-rounded immune systems that can protect them from getting seriously ill from preventable diseases.
Whether they’re heading off to daycare or high school, here are the vaccines your child should have to help keep them healthy as they learn:
Babies should get the following vaccines:
- Birth: Hepatitis B.
- 1-4 months old: Hepatitis B, DTap, Hib, polio, pneumococcal disease, and rotavirus.
- 5-6 months old: DTaP, Hib, polio, pneumococcal disease, rotavirus, and the seasonal flu vaccine.
- 7-11 months old: The seasonal flu vaccine.
- 12-23 months old: Chickenpox, DTaP, Hib, polio, MRR, pneumococcal disease, hepatitis A, hepatitis B, and the seasonal flu vaccine.
Children and Teens
Children and teens should get the following vaccines: :
- 2-3 years old: The seasonal flu vaccine.
- 4-6 years old: DTaP, polio, MMR, chickenpox boosters, and the seasonal flu vaccine
- 7-10 years old: The seasonal flu vaccine.
- 11-12 years old: Meningococcal disease, HPV, Tdap vaccines, and the seasonal flu vaccine
- 13-18 years old: Meningococcal conjugate and serogroup B meningococcal vaccines and the seasonal flu vaccine.
Instill Personal Hygiene Habits at Home
When it comes to helping your children to develop their own healthy habits, it’s important to lead by example at home. Here are a few different areas to touch on when teaching your little ones about the important role cleanliness plays in being healthy.
Encouraging Good Hand Hygiene Habits
Keeping your hands germ-free is your first line of defense when it comes to protecting yourself from illness-causing germs and bacteria. When showing your kids how to keep their hands clean, keep these tips in mind:
- Always use clean, running water when washing your hands.
- Opt for antibacterial hand soaps.
- Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds.
- Be sure to scrub between your fingers, the backs of your hands, and under your nails.
- Dry your hands with a clean hand towel or air dry them.
Developing an Oral Hygiene Routine
From preventing bad breath to keeping tooth decay at bay, good oral hygiene is essential for looking after your health and wellness. When helping your little one develop their own routine, remember to touch on the importance of the following:
- Brush your teeth at least twice daily.
- Use dental floss each time you brush.
- Use an antibacterial mouthwash.
- Remember to brush your tongue.
Promoting the Importance of Personal Hygiene
Personal cleanliness is another important component of your overall health as it helps to protect your body from germs and bacteria that can lead to infection. Remember to go over the following components of personal hygiene to help your child develop their own routine:
- Bathe thoroughly, at least every other day.
- Wash your hair regularly.
- Change your underwear every time you bathe.
- Cleaning up after yourself after using the restroom.
- Wiping properly after using the bathroom.
- Wash your sheets once weekly.
- How often to wash your clothes.
Be Mindful of Common Injuries
Since children and teens tend to be very physically active, it leaves them more prone to sustaining minor injuries. Whether they play school sports or they have gym class each week, it is important to know what to do in the event of an injury.
Sprained fingers are a fairly common occurrence for school-aged children and teens. Sprains happen when the ligaments of the affected joint have been overstretched or torn. Common symptoms of a finger sprain include:
- Feeling a “pop” in the joint.
- Swelling and inflammation.
- Inability to move the finger.
To treat a sprain at home, remember RICE:
- Rest the affected finger.
- Ice the injury site for 20 minutes at a time.
- Compress the injury to reduce swelling.
- Elevate the injury above the heart.
Although the shoulder is an extremely mobile joint, it’s also prone to dislocation. Dislocations happen when the head of the arm bone is partially or completely displaced from your shoulder joint. The most common shoulder dislocation symptoms include:
- Visible deformity.
- Swelling and inflammation.
Dislocations are medical emergencies. If your child has dislocated their shoulder, take them to get emergency medical attention as quickly as possible.
Concussions are also fairly common amongst children and teens. Although they are considered mild traumatic brain injuries (TBIs), they have the potential to become serious if unaddressed.
Concussions happen when a blow, jolt, or hit to the head or body causes the brain to jostle around inside the skull. Observable symptoms of a concussion can include:
- Looking dazed and confused,
- Trouble remembering events around the accident.
- Sudden clumsiness.
- Slowly reacting to conversation,
- Changes in behavior or personality.
If your child displays any of these symptoms, be sure to monitor their behavior for signs of a concussion for several days following injury. If symptoms continue to worsen, take them to the emergency department right away.
Know CPR Just in Case
Whether you’re chaperoning a field trip or having your children’s friends over for a slumber party, knowing CPR can help to save a life during an emergency.
Before Doing CPR
Before giving a child CPR, be sure to do the following steps:
- Make sure the area is safe and clear of obstructions.
- Ask the child if they’re okay and tap them.
- Dial 911 for emergency assistance.
- Open the person’s airway by tilting their head back and lifting their chin.
- Check for signs of breathing, listening carefully for 10 seconds.
To begin administering CPR, place your hands one on top of the other on the center of the chest. Using your body weight, administer compressions that are at least 2 inches deep. Be sure each compression is at least 2 inches deep.
Keeping the airways open, pinch their nose and place your mouth around theirs—making sure that there is a complete seal. Blow into their mouth with enough force to make their chest rise. After two rescue breaths, return to administering chest compressions.
Continue switching between chest compressions and rescue breathe until the person begins breathing on their own or emergency medical services arrive on the scene to take over.
Primary and Specialty Care in Henry County
At Henry County Hospital, we have been providing compassionate healthcare since 1919. When it comes to primary and specialty care, each patient can expect individualized care that meets their needs. From education to emotional support, we focus on your individual health and wellness.