As the back-to-school season approaches, the excitement of new classes, friends, and activities often takes center stage. However, it’s crucial not to overlook the importance of immune health during this time. With students returning to the classroom and being in close quarters, the risk of illnesses spreading increases. At Premier Medical Group, we want to equip you with valuable insights and tips on how to boost your family’s immune health and ensure a successful and healthy return to school.
Eating Well and Staying Hydrated
Proper nutrition is one of the fundamental ways to bolster your immune system. Excess sugar and processed foods can suppress immune function and promote inflammation. Packing your child’s lunch or snacks is a great way to ensure that they have healthy options, but many schools also offer balanced meal choices. Encouraging your child to consume a variety of fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, whole grains, and healthy fats ensures essential vitamins, minerals and antioxidants make it into your child’s diet.
Drinking an adequate amount of water is often underestimated, but it’s vital for maintaining optimal immune function. Hydration helps transport these important nutrients to cells and flushes out toxins from the body. Carrying a reusable water bottle can help remind your child to drink water throughout the day.
Keeping Your Rest and Activity in Balance
Adequate sleep is often referred to as the body’s natural defense mechanism. During deep sleep, the immune system releases cytokines, proteins that help fight off infections and inflammation. Establishing a consistent sleep schedule for your child can help ensure they get the recommended amount of sleep for their age group. The ideal amount of sleep for most younger children is 10-12 hours per night, and a bit less for adolescents (13-18 years of age) in the range of 8-10 hours per night.
Regular exercise not only promotes overall well-being but also enhances immune function. Recess and P.E. will supplement your child’s physical activity during the school day, but it is important to encourage physical activity outside of school as well. A great way to add exercise into your child’s routine is through physical activities they enjoy, such as playing outside with friends, walking with your family, or playing sports.
With the start of a new year, school-related stressors such as homework, tests, and balancing a healthy social life all come back into play. Stress can weaken the immune system, making the body more susceptible to illnesses. Open communication can provide emotional support to your child as they return to school. Other healthy stress management techniques that you can explore together include deep breathing exercises, meditation, yoga, and engaging in hobbies they enjoy.
Practicing Good Hygiene
Maintaining good hygiene is a simple yet powerful way to prevent the spread of infections. Teach your child the importance of washing their hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds – or about how long it takes to sing ‘Happy Birthday’. Also, remind them to avoid touching their face, especially their eyes, nose, and mouth, to minimize the risk of germs entering the body.
Scheduling Your Child’s Annual Exam
Scheduling your child’s annual physical exam ahead of the school year is a great opportunity to assess the status of your child’s health and milestones. You can raise any concerns you may have with their physician as well as ensure they are up to date with their vaccines. Immunizations are a proactive way to safeguard against vaccine-preventable diseases and provide an extra layer of protection during the school year.
As the back-to-school season approaches, taking proactive steps to boost immune health is paramount. Disease-preventative measures such as good hygiene, healthy eating, and stress management can help your child start the school year on the right foot. Contact your family healthcare provider at Premier Medical Group to schedule your child’s annual wellness exam.