Lakeview Hospital - September 25, 2019
by Ziyi Wang, MD

School is back in session and we all know what that means right?

Sick kids.

So what can you do this year to not only keep your children away from germs, but to help them stay mentally healthy?

We sat down with family medicine expert Dr. Ziyi Wang of MountainStar Medical Group Farmington Clinic to get the answers your family needs!

What are the biggest health risks with kids being back in school?

Children of different age groups have slightly different health risks from being in school. Common health problems for school-age children include flu or other viral illnesses as well as gastroenteritis which often comes with diarrhea and/or vomiting.

A growing problem for adolescents and younger adults is risk of developing mental health problems such as anxiety and depression from bullying or stress. The negative influence of those around them at school can also cause other adolescent health concerns, including: sexually transmitted infections, unwanted pregnancy, smoking or vaping and drug or alcohol abuse.

What are the best ways to keep my child healthy this school year?

There are many ways to keep your child healthy during the school year. First and most importantly, make sure they are up to date on their immunization. Almost as important is good hand hygiene which is key to help prevent viral illnesses. Also, make sure to provide your children with well-balanced meals and help them cut back on snacking.

Another essential aspect of good physical and mental health for your children is physical activity and limiting screen time. Regular physical activity can help children and adolescents improve heart health, control weight and reduce the risk of developing health conditions such as type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure. Regular physical activities can also help decrease stress and have a positive effect on mental health.

While homework and extracurricular activities can lead to later nights, it is important to make sure that your kids get at least eight hours of sleep per night. Sleep deprivation can lead to your children being more susceptible to germs and affect their mood and behavior, causing them to be moody, irritable, noncompliant or hyperactive. It also can affect their cognitive function such as attention, memory, and decision making, which are all important for their school performance.

Do immunizations really matter to help keep my kids healthy?

Absolutely! Vaccination is the most important thing you can do to keep your children healthy and protected from preventable diseases. Vaccines are safe and effective. Vaccination can protect your children from serious diseases such as measles, mumps, or meningitis and the complications that often come with those diseases, including: hearing loss, amputation or paralysis of limbs, infertility, brain-damage and in sometimes death. There have been increasing outbreaks of measles in recent years, which is a preventable disease by vaccination. By ensuring your children are vaccinated, you are not only protect your children, but also protecting others including family members, friends, the elderly, or other children who are too young to be vaccinated.

If my child is sick, when should I bring my child into the doctor?

You should bring your child to the doctor when they are dehydrated and can’t keep any fluids down, if your child has difficulty breathing, if their fever is not responding to over the counter fever medications or if the appear confused. For unvaccinated children, they should be seen by the doctor if they have a fever or rash. Viral illnesses usually last about a week. If your child’s symptoms fail to improve in one week, you should bring them in.

What symptoms should keep my child from going to school?

Your child should not go to school if he or she has symptoms such as fever, vomiting, diarrhea, difficulty breathing, rash such as chickenpox or measles, a severe cough or cold symptoms or severe abdominal pain. Once the fever has been controlled for over 24 hours without medication, the child is usually safe to return to school. The same would go for vomiting or diarrhea.

If your child or any member of your family is physically sick or struggling with mental illness, MountainStar Medical Group Farmington is available for same day appointments for every member of the family.

Schedule online at MountainStar Medical Group Farmington's website or by calling (801) 294-9333.