Back-to-School Health Checklist
Keep your family healthy this school year with a little preparation and some helpful hints!
Over the summer
· Make sure everyone is up-to-date on immunizations.Refer to your school’s vaccination requirements or the Centers for Disease Control schedule on www.cdc.gov – and don’t forget about flu shots in the fall!
· Schedule appointments early. Doctor’s offices are very busy in August – schedule back-to-school and sports physicals for the first part of the summer
· Update your medicine cabinet, Check expiration dates of over-the-counter (OTC) medications and other healthcare products (Editor’s Note: for more information on safe disposal, visit www.fda.gov)
Before the first day of school
Inform your child's teachers and other school staff about any special health requirements:
· Allergies and asthma — arrange to keep an extra epinephrine pen and inhaler at school
· Diabetes — these children may need a mid-morning or afternoon snack, especially if the nutrition is required to make their medication work effectively; discuss insulin dosing with the nurse or school principal
· Food restrictions — seek assistance from the school's food service provider or cafeteria staff; be prepared to provide your own snacks for classroom breaks and field trips
· Medications – take prescription and OTC medicines to the school nurse, along with any necessary paperwork
· Exercise limitations — review these with the school nurse and teaching staff; provide doctor’s notes as required
Throughout the year
Reinforce healthy choices:
· Stress the importance of hand washing — especially before eating and after gym or recess. Even simple activities like sharing pencils and pens can spread cold and flu germs; visit Giant Eagle and stock up on alcohol-based hand sanitizers and wipes for times when soap and water aren’t available.
· Gift college students with healthy snacks — provide convenient, dorm-sized cooking equipment and easy recipes for quick meals
· Start the day with breakfast — studying and paying attention in class both require readily available glucose from food; cereal with juice and milk, a grab-and-go cereal bar or a yogurt smoothie are easy starters
· Stock up on healthy snacks — raw veggies, whole-grain crackers, salsa, peanut butter, low-fat ranch dip, fruit, yogurt, or low-fat cheese sticks are great, kid-friendly options
· Schedule fitness — make time for a family walk, a yoga class, biking or other activities to get the whole family moving