• Children's Center

    Mayo Clinic Minute: The 3 best ways to keep kids healthy when heading back to school

kids walking into school with backpacks

Making sure kids are prepared to head back to school means more than just getting them the school supplies they need. Caregivers also will want to make sure their students are on track to have a healthy school year and help them avoid many viral illnesses that tend to circulate when young people gather in classrooms and day care facilities.

In this Mayo Clinic Minute, Dr. Nipunie Rajapakse, a pediatric infectious diseases specialist at Mayo Clinic's Children's Center, goes over some tips to ensure kids stay healthy through the upcoming school year.

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Parents and families can do a few things now to make sure kids stay healthy for the upcoming school year. First is make sure they are up to date on their COVID-19 and other routine childhood vaccinations.

"During the pandemic, many kids have fallen behind on their routine childhood immunizations. We really encourage everyone to reach out to their child's health care provider and double-check and make sure that their child is up to date on all of their vaccinations."

Many types of infections tend to increase when kids return to school and day care facilities. Respiratory infections and stomach flus can be well-prevented through good hand-washing. Dr. Rajapakse suggests getting the whole family involved.

children washing hands in sink

"Remind your kids about when they should be washing their hands and how they should be doing it. And demonstrating this at home and maybe doing a bit of practice at home can help to reinforce some of those messages. It's also really important for parents to be good role models of these types of infection prevention behaviors."

If your child starts showing symptoms of infection, keep the child at home to avoid spreading the infection to others.

"Things like fever, new runny nose, cough, sore throat rashes — those would be reasons to touch base with your health care provider to discuss with them whether it's safe to send your child back to school or not."

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