Back-to-School Health & Wellness
With the summertime coming to an end, it's time to get your family ready for the school year ahead! The health experts at Kirby Medical center are here to give parents some helpful tips and tricks to ensure their little ones are happy, healthy, and ready to learn!
Schedule Their Wellness Exams & Sports Physicals
With children and teens getting ready to head back to classes, it's important to make sure that they're healthy—not only for themselves but to prevent the spread of disease. Having a routine physical is an essential part of preventative care, helping your child's primary care doctor to look out for any causes for concern.
Checking Their Vitals
During your child’s wellness exam, the doctor will check their vitals. Typically, this will include checking your child’s:
- Blood pressure.
- Heart rate.
- Respiratory rate.
During the physical exam, the doctor will look at and palpate different areas of your child’s body to look for lumps, bumps, and any concerning symptoms. This may include:
- Listening to their heart with a stethoscope.
- Listening to their lungs with a stethoscope.
- Evaluating their abdomen through listening, gently pushing and tapping on abdomen, if indicated.
- Examining their eyes, nose, ears, and throat.
- Checking that your child is meeting growth and developmental milestones.
Vaccines are made up of the same germs that can cause serious illnesses, but they have been weakened to the point where they can't make you sick. Having this exposure to these germs helps children's immune systems to recognize these foreign invaders, producing the proper antibodies to fight them off like it would if they were sick.
Staying up to date on vaccines helps protect children and teens from preventable diseases that can cause serious illnesses like whooping cough. During your child's annual wellness exam, they will determine which vaccines are appropriate for your child's age.
Vaccines by Age
When taking your little one for their annual physical, the following vaccines are recommended depending on your child’s age:
- Birth: Hepatitis B.
- 1-4 months: Hepatitis B, DTap, Hib, polio, pneumococcal disease, and rotavirus.
- 5-6 months: DTaP, Hib, polio, pneumococcal disease, rotavirus, and the seasonal flu vaccine.
- 7-11 months: The seasonal flu vaccine.
- 12-23 months: Chickenpox, DTaP, Hib, polio, MRR, pneumococcal disease, hepatitis A, hepatitis B, and the seasonal flu vaccine.
- 2-3 years: The seasonal flu vaccine.
- 4-6 years: DTaP, polio, MMR, chickenpox boosters, and the seasonal flu vaccine
- 7-10 years: The seasonal flu vaccine.
- 11-12 years: meningococcal disease, HPV, Tdap vaccines, and the seasonal flu vaccine.
- 13-18 years: Meningococcal conjugate and serogroup B meningococcal vaccines and the seasonal flu vaccine.
If you have any questions about which vaccines are right for your child, be sure to reach out to your primary care doctor to ensure that they’re on schedule for their age.
Support Your Child’s Cognitive Brain Function
As humans, we use our brain’s cognitive functions to critically think, learn, and recall information—which are all important when it comes to everyday activities. As children continue to grow, it’s important to foster healthy cognitive brain function to set them up for a lifetime of success. Here are some tips and tricks to help support healthy brain function as your children get older.
Lead a Physically Active Lifestyle
As your children’s brains continue to develop, leading a physically active lifestyle can help to support healthy cognitive brain function. Activity helps to stimulate the connection of the brain, increasing the size of the part of the brain responsible for creating and storing information.
A great way to promote exercise in your household is to lead by example and get moving as a family! Try to aim to work at least 2.5 hours of physical activity each week. Some family-friendly exercises include:
- Playing catch.
- Touch football.
- Neighborhood walks.
- Flying kites.
- Bike riding.
- Jumping on a trampoline.
Set a Consistent Sleep schedule
We’re all guilty of skipping out on a few hours of rest here and there but doing so can do more damage than leaving you feeling sluggish and groggy the next day. Consistently getting good-quality rest is essential when it comes to improving your concentration and critical thinking skills.
Having a consistent sleep schedule where your child is getting 7-9 hours of sleep each night triggers changes within the brain that help them to:
- Retain information.
- Recall information later.
- Form new, complex ideas.
- Problem solve and critically think.
Try to make sure that your children go to sleep and wake up at the same time every day to get them into a routine.
Play with Puzzles & Play Games
Filling your free time with hobbies and activities that challenge your brain mentally is essential to promoting healthy brain function. This is because these types of activities engage your brain, causing you to think strategically and critically, stimulating new connections between your brain cells.
On your next family game night, try some of these activities to give you and your children’s brains a boost:
- Put together a jigsaw puzzle.
- Play board games.
- Play card games.
- Play instruments.
- Read a story together.
If you have any additional questions or concerns about your child’s health or how you can make sure they’re on the right track developmentally, reach out to your family health provider.
Contact Kirby Medical Center
At Kirby Medical Center, we are dedicated to helping our community learn how to stay healthy and safe. If you are concerned about your health risks and the types of vaccines that are right for you, contact Kirby Medical Center at 217-762-2115 to learn more about how we can assist with all your healthcare needs.