5 Back to School Health Tips from Dr. Kimberly Johnson

It’s hard to believe that summer is waning, and it’s time to gather supplies, backpacks, uniforms, and get ready for another school year. School days also mean the beginning of new routines and interactions, all which can affect our health. We had a chance to talk with Dr. Kimberly Johnson, Family Physician at Little Company of Mary  (Primary Office: 736 West 95th Street), about her back to school tips to keep your family healthy this school year.

How much sleep should kids get during the school year?
Inadequate sleep can have a negative impact on concentration as well as behavior. Sleep is very important to learning. School aged kids should get between 10 to 11 hours of sleep.

Who should get a flu vaccine and why?
Individuals six months of age and above should get the flu vaccine, unless they have severe allergies to eggs or have had a reaction to a previously administered flu vaccine. The flu virus changes constantly, and it can cause an individual to need hospitalization and in severe cases can lead to death.

Do you have tips for helping school aged kids avoid the flu and spread of germs?
Good hand hygiene is important. If possible, students should keep a small bottle of hand sanitizer and Kleenex at their desk.

How can parents encourage kids to get enough exercise and physical activity once school is in session?
I encourage parents to engage in physical activities with their children. It’s a great way for the family to interact together and sends a message that exercise and staying healthy is important for everyone.

What do you look for in back-to-school physical exams?
I focus on overall health, obesity risk, and immunization status.

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