The back to school checklist may start to feel overwhelming this time of year; school supplies, immunizations, physicals, and more! DHD#10 is here to ease your mind on a few things regarding your family’s wellness.
Preventing Head Lice
Head lice (pediculosis) are parasitic insects found on people’s heads. They do not pose a significant health hazard and are not known to spread disease. Lice do not jump or fly, but crawl from hair to hair and feed on blood from scalp bites. Anyone can get head lice regardless of their personal hygiene practices. Head lice are most common in preschool and elementary school age children and household members of infected individuals.
Head lice can be passed from one person to another in a number of ways:
- Head to head contact is the most common way
- Sharing items like combs, brushes, towels, bedding, hats, coats, scarves, ribbons, and barrettes.
- Placing heads on furniture, rugs, pillows, or car seats recently used by someone with lice.
- Dogs, cats, and other pets do not spread human lice.
Hearing & Vision Concerns
Signs of Hearing Loss
The signs and symptoms of hearing loss are different for each child. Even if a child has passed a hearing screening before, it is important to look for the following signs:
- Does not startle at loud noises.
- Does not turn to the source of a sound after 6 months of age.
- Does not say single words, such as “dada” or “mama” by 1 year of age.
- Turns head when he or she sees you but not if you only call out his or her name. This sometimes is mistaken for not paying attention or just ignoring, but could be the result of hearing loss.
- Seems to hear some sounds but not others.
- Speech is delayed and/or not clear.
- Does not follow directions. This sometimes is mistaken for not paying attention or just ignoring, but could be the result of a partial or complete hearing loss.
- Often says, “Huh?”
- Turns the TV volume up too high.
When should my child be checked?
Your child should be checked for vision problems by an eye doctor (an ophthalmologist), pediatrician, or other trained specialist at:
- Newborn to 3 months
- Six months to 1 year
- About 3 years AND 5 years
What are signs of vision loss?
A child with vision loss might:
- Close or cover one eye
- Squint the eyes or frown
- Complain that things are blurry or hard to see
- Have trouble reading or doing other close-up work, or hold objects close to eyes to see
- Blink more than usual or seem cranky when doing close-up work (such as looking at books)
- One eye of a child with vision loss could look out or cross. One or both eyes could be watery, and one or both of the child’s eyelids could also look red-rimmed, crusted, or swollen.
Physical Activity & Nutrition
Healthy eating patterns in childhood and adolescence promote optimal childhood health, growth, and intellectual development; prevent immediate health problems, such as iron deficiency anemia, obesity, eating disorders, and dental caries.
Regular physical activity is one of the most powerful preventative health behaviors. Research shows that people who are physically active are less likely to develop cardiovascular disease, diabetes, colon cancer, osteoporosis and obesity. Choose the most nutritionally rich foods you can from each food group each day – those packed with vitamins, minerals, fiber, and other nutrients, but lower in calories. Pick foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and fat-free or low-fat milk and milk products more often.
- Get enough sleep
- East breakfast
- Practice good hygiene
- Limit screen time
- Establish an after-school routine that works for your child.
- Plan to avoid stress
- Get involved in volunteer activities or extra circulars
- Get outside
The list could go on, right? Just remember as kids go back to school to keep total wellness in mind. This involves physical activity, nutrition, disease prevention, and mental wellness, and more! Check out these quick links for more resources.