Tuesday, September 23, 2008
Parent to Parent: Back to School Illness
The kids have been back to school now for several weeks. They'll no doubt be bringing home new friends, a pile of homework and probably a few bugs too. In tonight's Parent to Parent, Lynn Martinez tells us what to look out for, and what you can do to keep your child from getting sick.
WSVN -- Back to school means back to sharing toys, school supplies and lots of germs. Randy Riven sees it every year.
Randy Riven: "A lot of runny nose, a lot of sneezing and coughing."
Gaby Bacca knows all about it too.
Gaby Bacca: "Last year he got ear infections pretty often. That's a major concern. It's one of the reasons I'm here today."
Dr. Julio Egusquiza says when school starts, his pediatric practice gets busy.
Dr. Julio Egusquiza: "The kids start interacting. They start playing together. They start sharing a pencil or a toy and one puts it in their mouth, the other one comes along and puts that in their mouth, and next thing you know, three or four days later, he's sick."
So what do parents need to look out for? Well, topping the sick list, the common cold. Kids tend to get at least six of them a year.
Stomach flu comes in second. Ear infections and pink eye are notoriously contagious.
Dr. Julio Egusquiza: "Try to get him to wash his hands often, not to put things in his mouth."
But there are things you can do.
Dr. Julio Egusquiza: "Most people are out touching surfaces. Germs live on surfaces for several hours sometimes several days depending on the particular virus or bacteria. Their hands get contaminated; they don't wash their hands."
Doctors say you can help build up your child's immune system by making sure they eat a balanced diet, exercise and get plenty of rest.
Dr. Julio Egusquiza: "They should be getting eight to 10 hours of sleep at night, eating healthy, a good routine, a good schedule, so the child isn't stressed."
And finally, doctors say, keeping current on vaccinations and exams are the perfect prescription for a healthier, happier school year.
When it comes to germs, the number one rule is, if your kid is contagious, don't send him to school.
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Dr. Valerie Goode
American Academy of Pediatrics