By Dr. Umang Patel and Emily Grenfell
Getting back to school can be a stress for you and your little ones, with new teachers, new lessons, and sometimes a new school entirely. It also leaves them open to a lot of new illnesses, and some old ones. So how do you stay healthy?
Set a bedtime
Most adults need eight hours sleep a night, and children generally need more. Being well rested is a key ingredient to fighting infections and viruses, so setting a bedtime and sticking to it is very important. You know the best ways to get your little ones to bed, and starting their bedtime routine an hour before you want them to be falling asleep can make this as smooth as possible.
Top Tip: Avoid screens an hour before bed as the blue-light limits melatonin levels, leading to shorter REM sleep. This in turn affects the conversion of daily experiences to long-term memory, which makes us more forgetful.
Sneeze into crook of elbow or into a tissue
Coughs and sneezes spread diseases, as true as this is a cough or a sneeze is a bodily reaction and can’t be helped. Getting your children used to sneezing into a tissue at all times is ideal, but for times when they’re caught out, sneezing into the crook of their arm is the most hygienic solution. Sneezing into a hand that then picks up pencils and opens doors is a sure way to spread germs, so eliminating this habit is key.
Wash hands, sing a song
Washing hands for as long as it takes to sing a song gives your little one enough time to get the soap between the fingers and wash both the top and bottom of the hand. You can sing the alphabet, the wheels on the bus, or make up your own special hand washing ballad. Whatever form it takes, finding a way to spend a decent amount of time washing hands can really help to stop the spread of germs.
While at school catching headlice is the second most contagious infection after the common cold. One of the best ways to get rid of them is to use tea-tree oil shampoo and lots of conditioner, followed by thorough and repeated comb-throughs with a specially designed nit-comb. This method is labour-intensive, but works. If you use lotions and sprays the treatment is often required to stay on for hours at a time, and must be repeated as the lotions and sprays will not have any effect on the eggs. If you comb out a headlouse, wipe the comb on toilet roll and flush.
If your little one is complaining about feeling sick in the morning before school, and you’re unsure about keeping them at home, book a consultation through babylon. You can have your consultation in minutes from 8am, and have advice from a real doctor long before the school bell rings.