The start of the school year may be the most exciting time of the year (well maybe just for parents…) However going back to school can bring on a slew of health issues, so let’s look at how we can prevent them.
The most basic and easiest thing we can teach our children is to wash their hands whenever they touch something dirty, use the restroom or before they eat. True we need to be exposed to germs to increase our immunity, but some of these germs aren’t friendly and bring on colds, flu, rashes and intestinal bugs when we’re not expecting it.
If a child skips breakfast or eats primarily sugar and carbohydrates, they not only face immune system weaknesses but also poor attention, concentration and ability to do well in school. Make sure your kids eat a good breakfast with protein and Vitamin C-packed fruits before heading for the school bus.
If the kids were accustomed to staying up late and now have to wake up at 5:30 in the morning, they might spend much of their school day nodding off. Insufficient sleep has been linked to obesity as well as poor immunity so get them on a regular schedule of a bedtime that will allow 8-10 hours of sleep a night.
Chances are your child grew an inch this summer, so shoes and clothing may be a little tight. Use the finger tip rule for pants and shoes to make sure there is room to grow. And avoid accessories that your kids can chew on, swallow or can lose as they will concentrate more on the lost earring than what the teacher is saying.
Back to school can bring on anxiety in many children and make sure you have open conversations to allow them to share their fears. Bullies make themselves apparent the first few days of school, and your child may be getting wet willies, wedgies or their lunch stolen right under the teacher’s nose.
If joining the PTA doesn’t appeal to you, at least make buddies with parents of children in your kid’s class as they will be the first to notify you if lice, pink eye or sore throat is making the rounds before a school may.
If you child walks to or from school or a bus stop, educate them on how to avoid strangers and what to do if approached by one. Consider driving your child if you think they are at risk.
In 2006, a study published in BMC Public Health, found teachers to suffer more from ENT (ear, nose and throat) ailments, dermatitis, bladder infections, bronchitis, conjunctivitis and varicose veins than those who work in other professions. Teachers are on the front lines when it comes to cough and cold season as they come into contact with hundreds of children a day, many of whom are contagious prior to knowing they are symptomatic. Once the fever shows itself, parents may keep the child home but the student already exposed others earlier in the day.
Standing on one’s feet for extended hours does a number on the peripheral vascular system, manifesting in leg swelling and at times, varicose veins. And when breaks are infrequent, bladder infections brew since one can’t visit the bathroom when they need.
Long work hours during the week prevent many educators from seeing a health care provider and many health plans don’t have providers who work on the weekends. Teachers can very easily put their own health care needs on the back burner during a long school year.
Taking care of school business is paramount during the school year but parents, teachers and kids need to still put health and safety.
The latest potentially deadly challenge sweeping social media is the “Vacuum” or “Trash Bag” Challenge.
In this feat, one climbs into a garbage bag, while a friend or parent sucks air out of the plastic bag until the inmate topples over.
Bringing people to the point of falling (or if putting the bag over their face) of asphyxiation can cause a plethora of health issues including fractures, respiratory failure, stroke and death.
And even if parents appear to be supervising or performing the challenge and the child comes out unscathed, dangers lurk as the child could try to reproduce the challenge with their friends, this time putting the bag over one’s head.
This Spring another stupid challenge swept social media called the “Shell On” challenge in which teens Snapchat videos of themselves eating through fruit skin, cardboard boxes and plastic bags containing their food.
Although this appears to not be as dangerous as the Tide Pod or Boiling Water Challenge, it can cause choking and asphyxiation.
Last year we learned of the “Boiling Water Challenge” in which kids drink boiling water from a straw or have it poured all over their body. Then they topped it off with a more dangerous challenge, the “Fire Challenge.”
The Fire Challenge is executed by pouring rubbing alcohol on one’s body and then setting oneself on fire. A video records the victim running into a tub or shower to wash it off, and this trend has gone viral.
Unfortunately it’s one of the most dangerous. A 12 year-old girl from Detroit who participated in this challenge is undergoing multiple surgeries to repair burns afflicting close to 50% of her body.
Multiple cases of the “Fire Challenge” have been reported over the years, including a 12 year-old boy from Georgia.
One would think children, especially teens, innately know that fire is dangerous but maybe the younger generation has been so protected that they haven’t experienced the basic concepts of danger and inadvertently underestimate its force.
Challenges that involve dangerous stunts have been around for some time. The Choking Challenge induced children to suffocate themselves for the high of feeling asphyxiated. The Tide Pod Challenge tempted kids to put colorful cleaning packets in their mouths, hoping they wouldn’t burst.
The Cinnamon Challenge sparked thousands to inhale the common kitchen spice and cough till they puked. Then the Condom Challenge offered two options where one dropped a condom filled with water on a friends face, or snorted one through the nose.
We adults can’t for the life of us figure out what the reward is in performing these challenges, but presume its fame and awe among friends and social media followers. But these challenges prove dangerous and in some cases deadly. Unfortunately the YouTube Clips never show the after effects of these pranks…maybe they should.