There is always a little excitement for the first day of school. Teachers welcome new students; children see their friends again and wear new backpacks—the sound of pencil sharpeners, school bells, and buses on the road echo with each day.
As the weeks progress, there is always the chance of a child getting a cold or an infection. Vaccinations are important for children this time of the year, as they protect against diseases. August is National Immunization Awareness Month and a great time to check with your child’s provider on what vaccines are needed to keep them healthy. For example, the HPV vaccine can be given to children as young as 9 to protect against cancer-causing infections. The flu vaccine is also important as it won’t be too long before flu season arrives, and flu vaccination can help prevent severe illness and hospitalization.
Central Florida Health Care Chief Pediatrician Dr. Heather Wardy says, “Summer is an ideal time to schedule your child’s annual physical and address any concerns with their pediatrician. This is a great time to ensure immunizations are up-to-date and that your child is most prepared for the upcoming school year.”
Along with immunizations, ensuring your child eats healthy and stays active to feel their best is important. Starting the day with a good breakfast will keep them alert in class, while physical activity for at least an hour a day can improve concentration and even behavior.
Mental health is also very important; parents must check in with their children daily on how they feel and are coping with the new school year. Bullying, unfortunately, can cause a lot of emotional distress. Monitoring your child’s electronic devices can protect them from sites or situations affecting their self-esteem, especially if they text with other students. Ensure your child can talk to you, a friend, or a relative if something is troubling them. We wish our patients and all students a healthy, happy, and enjoyable school year!