Preparing for a successful school year

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Dr. Glendon Cook encourages healthy back-to-school habits to prepare for a successful school year. Courtesy/LAMC

By GLENDON COOK, MD
Los Alamos Medical Center

As summer vacation draws to a close, there’s a lot to do to prepare for the new school year.

The two most important things to do may seem routine, but that doesn’t make them any less of a priority: schedule annual medical checkups for you and your family and keep up to date with your vaccinations. Routine health checks are essential for your family’s continued health and are an integral part of child health care. In fact, seeing a provider for regular preventative care is one of the best ways to identify and treat health issues before they become serious.

This includes visiting your dermatologist annually to check for any skin health issues, including suspicious or unusual spots that could be cancerous, as well as any other skin health issues you might think are harmless. After a long, hot summer, there’s no better time to make sure you’re doing your part to help your skin stay healthy.

When planning health checkups, don’t overlook vision screenings and mental health screenings, including depression screenings for ages 12 and older. Eye health and mental health are two essential components of the overall health of children and adults.

Annual physical exams also allow your child’s pediatrician to confirm that their vaccinations are up to date and to answer any questions you may have about your child’s health. Staying up to date on vaccinations and health issues isn’t just vital for kids, though. Adult vaccines are recommended based on several factors, so you should ask your primary care provider which vaccines you might need. Be sure to ask your family’s provider for vaccines against diseases like influenza, meningococcal, human papillomavirus (HPV) and others. And also bring up any health issues that you are currently experiencing personally.

Some additional tips to use to prepare your family for a healthy and successful school term:

  • Eat well and stay active. Healthy students are better learners. That’s why it’s crucial that children eat nutritious meals and maintain a healthy weight. In addition to getting the nutrients their bodies need, experts recommend kids get at least 60 minutes of physical activity every day to help reduce stress and increase focus.
  • Make sleep a priority. A lack of sleep can lead to a variety of health issues for students and parents, including memory problems, difficulty concentrating, weakened immune systems, common heart problems, depression, and even obesity. Healthy sleep hygiene can contribute to better weight management, improved mood and increased productivity
  • Wash your hands regularly and prevent the spread of germs. It’s well known that the school year can introduce an assortment of colds, stomach bugs, and other communicable illnesses. One of the most effective ways to defend against germs is hand washing, so always wash your hands before eating, after using the bathroom, and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
  • Do not smoke. Electronic cigarettes are the most widely used tobacco product among young people in the United States. The nicotine in these popular smoking devices – like the nicotine in other tobacco products – can damage the developing brain of adolescents, especially the areas of the brain responsible for learning, memory. and watch out

To reach their full potential in the classroom, students need to be as healthy as possible, both physically and mentally. By following simple tips like those outlined above, you can better prepare your family for the months ahead and make this school year a first for the books.

If your family needs a primary care provider, dermatologist, mental health specialist, eye care provider, or pediatrician, LAMC can help. Call 505.662.4201 or visit the Find a Doctor/Provider tab at Losalamosmedicalcenter.com to connect you with the right care for your family.

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