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From Kindergarten to College, Go Back to School in Better Health
Date:9/22/2009

rom their mouths and noses. They can also do their part to prevent the spread of germs by covering their mouths with a sleeve when they cough or sneeze (not their hand).

Surviving grade school

Crowded classrooms and playground contact make it hard to avoid grade school perils like pink eye and head lice, but you can minimize your child's exposure.

Head lice - Remind your kids not to share hats, combs and coats, and keep an eye on your child's hair for indications of head lice. If your child has an itchy scalp, use a magnifying glass to look for tiny brown or white eggs, called nits, which stick to the shaft of hair. There are a number of over-the-counter and natural treatments available, but persistence is the key to eliminating them altogether.

Pink eye - Pink eye, also known as conjunctivitis, is a highly contagious virus that affects the eyes. It can be identified through redness, eye swelling, itching and excessive discharge from the eye. It can be spread easily from one eye to the other and from child to child. Hand washing is the best way to avoid pink eye and its spread.

Safety - Parents have plenty to worry about when it comes to safety for their young children, so you need to be vigilant about reminding kids about pedestrian safety, bike safety, and stranger danger. Walk your child's route to school or the bus stop the first few days to point out traffic risks and practice safe street crossing.

Backpack overload - Check your child's backpack and try to minimize weight loads. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that backpacks not exceed 10 - 20% of the child's weight, as they can cause injury to muscles and joints, leading to posture problems and pain in the back, neck and shoulders. Be sure the weight is distributed evenly and that straps are wide and padded, and consider a rolling pack as a safer choi
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SOURCE The Polyclinic
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