Champaign, Ill. (WCIA)

School, activities, athletic practices and homework – this is an exciting time of year particularly as groups come together. That togetherness and the eventual change in weather driving people indoors, make it critical to stay healthy in order to continue being active. There are many things kids and adults alike can do to reduce their chances of becoming ill.

We are here with Dr. Brent Reifsteck, Medical Director, Child Services, Carle Foundation, to go over some reminders of how to stay healthy.

Get a physical
 An annual school or sports physical is an important way to maintain lines of communication with a trusted healthcare provider and track growth and development.
 The appointment also offer patients and guardians the opportunity to raise any concerns.

Stay up to date on vaccinations
 Getting appropriate vaccinations is one of the best ways to reduce the amount of illness in your community and limit spread, which helps keep everyone well.
 You can check with the American Academy of Pediatrics to see which vaccines are most appropriate per age group. https://www.aap.org/en/patient-care/immunizations/
 Children are used to receiving vaccinations and some may be required to continue attending school.
 Being up to date on vaccines like those for COVID-19 and influenza are especially important for crowded settings like schools and congregant living spaces

Don’t skip out on sleep
 A solid sleep routine is just as important for children and adults as it is for babies or toddlers.
 Not getting enough sleep can result in negative responses such as overeating, mood swings and lower immunity.

Wash your hands
 Washing your hands and using hand sanitizer often reduces the chance for germs to travel from various surfaces to your face.
 Make sure even the youngest students know the proper way to wash their hands and have access to personal hand sanitizer.

Maintain mental health
 It’s just as important to manage anxiety, stress and other behavioral health challenges as it is to manage physical health.
 Guardians should look for signs of these issues and create open lines of communication and support to help kids feel empowered to come forward.
 Mental stress can also lead to physical stress and irregularities, which can also be a sign of a larger problem.

You may always contact your child’s pediatrician or your primary care provider to get your questions answered and learn more. There is also information available at https://carle.org/Services/Institutes/Pediatrics-Care to get you started.