Dr. Kate Miller’s back-to-school health and safety tips

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Now that the kids are back to school, make sure they have a healthy and safe year. Here are Some back-to-school health and safety tips from Almonte family physician Dr. Kate Miller.

Pack a Nutritious Lunch

"Anything you prepare yourself and put in a container is much healthier than pre-packaged foods," says Dr. Miller. "Most pre-packaged lunch foods are high in fat and sodium and low on nutrition."

Pre-packaged snacks and drink boxes may also be poor choices. "Granola bars tend to be high in sugar and low in fibre," explains Dr. Miller. "Drink boxes tend to contain fruit drink, which is high in sugar and has artificial colour and flavours."

Dr. Miller suggests packing real fruit and fruit juice or water in your child’s lunchbox. "Using leftovers from meals you have made at home for your child’s lunch is easy, quick, cheaper and more nutritious that pre-packaged foods," she adds.

Don’t spread contagious bugs

"Make sure your children wash their hands and cover their coughs," advises Dr. Miller. "Make sure their classrooms have tissues and hand sanitizer."

It is also important to keep a sick child at home, to prevent the spread of infectious diseases. "With almost all infectious diseases, you are most contagious for the first couple of days," says Dr. Miller. "So keep your children at home when they are coming down with something. A sick child won’t learn and will infect other kids."

Make sure vaccinations are up to date

"Children aged four to six are due for a set of vaccinations, so don’t miss those shots," advises Dr. Miller. "The province has also just started paying for a second chicken pox vaccination, so a child under 10 should receive it. Later this fall, make sure your child receives a flu shot."

Go to and from school safely

"Make sure your child knows how to cross the road safely," says Dr. Miller. "If your kids bike to school, ensure they wear helmets. It is also important to continue to practise sun safety to protect your children from the sun’s harmful rays."