With children’s immune systems being less developed than adults, they’re going to get sick. But there are things you can do to give them a fighting chance in school.
As you prepare your kids for going back to school by getting a new pencil case and making sure they’ve got a healthy lunch, there’s one thing that can often be overlooked – and
is much harder to prepare for.
School can be a breeding ground for bacteria and a number of common illnesses spread among the student body quickly and inevitably every year. From the common cold to respiratory problems and viral infections, sometimes there is just no escaping getting sick.
But there are a few simple steps you can take to help your child beat the bugs and stay healthy at school.
Lead by example
Children learn a lot of their behaviour from their parents so if you take an active role in making sure that they know how to keep clean, it will stand them in good stead.
“Teach your child from a very early age the common hygiene habits,” suggests Dr Mishal Al Kasimi, CEO and paediatric consultant at Health Shield Medical Center. “Little things such as the right way to wash their hands and how they should cover their mouth when they cough are essential for children to learn.”
Keep a well-rounded lifestyle
The old adage ‘an apple a day keeps the doctor away’ is more than just a rhyme. Eating a balance of fruits, vegetables and protein as well as getting the right amount of rest and exercise is significant for a child’s health.
“This goes without saying but ensure your child eats a well-balanced diet, stays hydrated and gets enough sleep at night by putting them to bed early,” says Dr Mishal.
“This goes a long way in preventing unwanted viral infections.”
“Probably the most important piece of advice is to make sure that your child is
up to date with all their vaccinations,” explains Dr Mishal. “Nothing works better to boost your child’s immunity than their regular shots.”
With the advancement of medical science, many diseases and illnesses can be completely avoided with a few simple immunisations. A GP will be able to advise parents on what is needed and can be provided to your child before they reach school age.
Teachers are often vigilant when it comes to illness and should be able to spot common signs of sickness in their pupils. The less overcrowded the classroom is, the less likely illness will spread, meaning that schools that have smaller class sizes have a lower chance of all the pupils getting unwell.
“Make sure that your child’s teachers and aides can properly identify when your child is sick and that the space itself is well-ventilated and has enough room for all the children,” says Dr Mishal.
“It’s never a good idea to send your child to a nursery that packs all its children into one classroom – the ratio of student to classroom is very important.”
Give them a day off
Even if you take every precaution, your child is going to get unwell at one point or another, so it’s important to allow them the right time and space to rest. Sending a sick child to school can set back the recovery process and also increases the chances of other pupils becoming unwell as a result.
“If, after all your efforts, your child does get sick, don’t worry,” adds Dr Mishal.
“If your little one is exhibiting early signs or symptoms of an illness, keep them at home. In doing so, you’re preventing that ‘ping-pong effect’ of each child infecting
the other and bouncing the viruses off of each other.”
Allow your child to get plenty of sleep and make sure they stay well hydrated to help them on the road to recovery.
To find out more about Health Shield Medical Center, contact: 02 626 5722, healthshield.ae