Back to School Health Tips from Dr. Valek

The lazy days of summer have passed, and everyone is gearing up for back to school. If you still haven’t taken your children in for a back to school physical, now is the time. You may wonder what your child’s doctor looks for at this particular exam. Dr. Valek, a Family Medicine Physician at Little Company of Mary, says that they check up on everything from physical to social health issues. “I look for family interaction. I look to see if the child is spending at least as much time reading as watching TV. I do a general physical, including looking at the spine for scoliosis. And we focus on the parent’s concerns.” Dr. Valek notes that all concerns are worth a health check. “We deal with everything from Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) to disabilities. In family practice, we take care of all children.”

A lot changes during back to school season—schedules change, the weather starts to cool, and kids especially interact with a lot more people on a regular basis. All of these changes can have a direct impact on health, so we decided to reach out to Dr. Valek to get his take on a smattering of health issues that go along with the back to school season. Here are Dr. Valek’s tips.

Packing school lunches.
Every lunch has to include a vegetable and a fruit. Start with that and everything will work itself out.

Preventing the spread of germs.
Sneeze into your elbow. This decreases the transmission of the cold virus by your hands. Also, help your children to wash their hands properly. Washing hands goes a long way to avoid the spread of germs. The experts say children should to sing “Happy Birthday” to themselves to be sure they do the proper duration. The same goes for brushing your teeth. Do it twice a day, humming “Happy Birthday.”

Who should get the flu vaccine?
Everybody. Period. There is no downside to the vaccine. You cannot get the flu from the vaccine, and everybody needs one.

The proper amount of physical activity for kids.
Gym programs are being reduced, and I don’t think that’s a good thing. They need at least an hour of running around every day after school.

Handling bullying.
Most schools are well set up to handle bullying. If parents suspect their child is being bullied, I’d advise the parents to speak to the top administrator about the issue. Also, establishing a nonjudgmental and open discussion at home is a good starting point.

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