Thursday, August 21, 2014

Healthy Habits for the New School Year

Another school year is upon us and with that comes new routines, new sports schedules and a whole new world of germs. Don’t worry, GBMC has tips to help you prepare your family for a healthy start! 

Set a Sleep Schedule
In the summer, it’s easy to let routines fall away and be more laid back about bedtime. It’s important for your children to be alert and energized for school, so if your kids haven’t been on the strictest of schedules this summer, it may be wise to start preparing them for the September routine as early as possible. Determine age-appropriate bedtimes for your children and gradually start to change their routine. It is also helpful to start waking up at the same time every day, including weekends, to start getting your children (and yourself!) adjusted to waking up early again. 

Hone Hand Hygiene Skills
With a classroom full of children sharing toys and school supplies, germs are likely to be present. One of the best ways to reduce your child’s chances of getting sick this fall is to encourage frequent and proper hand washing. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) state that frequent hand washing helps to reduce respiratory illnesses, such as colds, by 21 percent. Teach your children proper hand washing at home and encourage them to wash their hands often while at school. 

Reminders for proper hand hygiene: thoroughly wet hands with either warm or cold water; be sure to lather soap on the backs of hands and between fingers; scrub for at least 20 seconds (singing or humming “Happy Birthday” takes 20 seconds!); and dry hands with a clean paper towel or air dryer—never a shared bath towel. 

Schedule Flu Shots
The CDC indicates that flu vaccination should occur as soon as the vaccine is available, which is typically in September, depending on where you live. It takes about two weeks following the vaccination for the body to develop antibodies that protect against the flu, so the sooner you and your children get the shot, the better protected you will be. 

GBMC wishes your family a happy and healthy school year! 

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