Keeping kids healthy as they head back to school

HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) – As students are going back to school, some of their classmates could be bringing new bacteria with them.

"We see a lot of ear infections the first week back to school, and the sore throats come back," said Dr. Dennis Rhoades, the Medical Director of Doctors Care.

Dr. Rhoades explained that during the summer, different kids come into contact with different viruses. When students are introduced to each other on the first day, they are also introduced to those new germs.

The younger your student is the more risk they have of getting sick.

"They don't have full immunity, yet. We have to be exposed to different viruses and bacteria as we grow up," said Dr. Rhoades, explaining this is why your child may get sick but you don't.

The best way to tackle germs is prevention: 

Talk to you student about washing their hands. Dr. Rhoades stresses that simple hand hygiene can cut back on 80 percent of infections.

"You want to sit down with your kids and explain you can't avoid all bugs, but take the time to wash your hands. If you're out in recess and come back in, run to the restroom to wash," suggested Dr. Rhoades

Send them to school with some hand sanitizer.

"You don't want to make them paranoid about the bacteria, but you want to make them aware that these things are around and keeping them as clean as possible," he said.

Outside of the classroom, a healthy lifestyle at home is also important.

Dr. Rhoades suggests regular exercise, a healthy diet, and vitamins will help keep your family healthy from the inside out. Plus, a solid sleep schedule is a must.

"Even an additional 20 minutes of sleep a day could decrease your child's chance of childhood obesity by upwards of 25 percent," explained Dr. Rhoades.

He suggested a full eight hours of sleep each night.

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