Back-to-School Health Tips for Your Child

Back-to-School Health Tips for Your Child

If you have any kids heading back to school this summer, you may be worrying about their health – both in the classroom, and on the soccer or football field.

Matthew Birkle MD, an emergency medicine doctor at TriHealth Priority Care, shares a few tips for keeping your child healthy and safe during the next several months.

In the Classroom

Tip #1: Wash Your Hands and Don’t Share Drinks

The most common illnesses that go around, like persistent coughing, congestion, sore throat, or mononucleosis, are spread through the respiratory tract. “Wash your hands before you touch your face or eat and don’t share your drinks, which is the number one thing for teenagers,” Dr. Birkle points out.

Tip #2: Stay Home and See Your Doctor

“Certainly, if you feel like your child is ill, contact your family doctor,” Dr. Birkle explains. Common symptoms that would warrant keeping your child home and scheduling an appointment with your doctor, include:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Cough
  • Fever

On the Field Safety

Tip #1: Stay Hydrated

If your child participates in school-affiliated sports, they need to stay hydrated – especially during the late summer and early fall months. The amount of water your child should drink, depends on their size and sweat rate, but it’s important to drink plenty of water throughout the day in order to avoid an episode of dehydration later.

Avoid drinks containing caffeine, such as tea or soft drinks, because they have a diuretic effect and cause the body to release water.

Tip #2: Watch for Repetitive Concussions

“When you get a head injury, evaluate for concussion and see a sports medicine specialist,” Dr. Birkle says. “Repetitive concussions, especially in football, need to be avoided. Soccer and football are big for those.”

Signs and symptoms of a concussion include:

  • Changes in mood
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Dizziness
  • Feeling groggy
  • Getting headaches
  • Losing balance
  • Nausea
  • Vision problems
  • Slower reaction times

"Often times, it's difficulty with studying and concentration – those types of things – especially if there's any type of persistent numbness," he explains.

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Last Updated: August 22, 2013