Medical City Healthcare - August 06, 2018

Getting the kids back-to-school ready is a time-honored tradition that parents and kids alike look forward to more or less. Whether you've been prepping for weeks or are just starting to think about it, here are three easy ways to make sure kids have a safe and healthy start to the school year.

Buy the right backpack.

Backpack injuries send tens of thousands of kids a year to emergency rooms, physicians' offices and urgent care clinics with sprains, strains, dislocations and even fractures.

Matt Bush, MD, an emergency medicine physician at Medical City Children's Hospital offers these tips to prevent backaches, shoulder pain, tingling arms, weakened muscles and stooped posture.

Backpacks should:

  • Have two straps — and kids should use both
  • Have a padded back and padded shoulder straps
  • Contain multiple compartments for better weight distribution
  • NOT weigh more than 10% of your child's weight when loaded

Teach kids to wash their hands correctly.

Kids pick up a lot of things at school in addition to friends, social skills and an education. They can also come home with head lice, a stomach bug such as Cyclospora or a zillion other icky germs. There's no way to completely protect children from contagious illnesses short of bubble-wrapping them daily, but a good old-fashioned handwashing goes a long way.

"The best way to keep your kids healthy all year long is to practice good hand hygiene," Dr. Bush said. His tips for teaching kids how to do it right:

  • Wash hands with soap and running water (warm or cold)
  • Lather hands, including between fingers and under nails
  • Scrub for at least 20 seconds (hum "Happy Birthday" twice)
  • Dry hands using a clean, dry paper towel and use it to open bathroom door

Teach family members the right way to cough and sneeze, too, so they don't pass germs back and forth or to their friends.

For more tips to help banish germs, read Know How to Combat Germs with Soap, Snot and Singing.

Schedule immunizations and physicals - then bookmark virtual care on your mobile or computer.

Back-to-school readiness includes making sure your kids are up to date on all their childhood vaccinations. Mumps have made a resurgence in Texas in the past couple of years. Urgent care centers, such as CareNow, can provide immunizations, flu shots, sports physicals and annual family check-ups in addition to treating minor injuries and illness.

"The best thing you can do to prevent the flu is to get a flu shot," said Nathan Holbrook, DO, an emergency medicine physician at Medical City Arlington. "The CDC estimates that the influenza vaccination prevents about 5 million cases annually."

To make shots less stressful and painful for kids, the CDC offers these tips:

  • Bring a favorite stuffed animal, blanket or toy
  • Explain to children, using simple terms and a calm voice, the shot process and the possibility that they may feel a quick pinch
  • Ease pain, swelling and fever with cool, wet cloths, a sponge bath or a non-aspirin pain reliever such as Tylenol® if your doctor approves
  • Stay positive — even small children will pick up on your doubts and fears!

The busy-ness of the school year makes it an especially inconvenient time for you or your family to get sick. Now there's an online option for after hours or anytime you can't get in (or don't feel like going in) to your doctor. With Medical City Virtual Care, there's no appointment necessary and you have 24/7 access to trusted healthcare providers from any mobile device or computer. Online healthcare professionals can diagnose, treat and prescribe medications for a wide variety of non-emergency medical conditions, including:

  • Colds and flu
  • Minor skin conditions
  • Urinary tract infections
  • Seasonal allergies

Use coupon code BLOG10 for $10 off your first visit.

For more information on vaccinations and schedules, read Childhood Immunizations: What You Need to Know.

For fast, emergency help when you need it most, look to one of our many Medical City ER locations across North Texas. With average wait times posted online, if you do have an emergency, you can spend less time waiting and more time on the moments that matter most.

Find a fast Medical City ER near you or call our free 24-hour Ask-A-Nurse hotline.

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The post How to Get Kids Back-to-School Ready in 3 Easy Steps appeared first on LifeSigns.