Back-to-School Health Tips

MILWAUKEE -- Believe it or not it’s that time already back-to-school.

Nurse Practitioner Jodi Delagrave from the MinuteClinic is here with five steps parents should take to make sure you kids are healthy when going back-to-class.

#1 Determine if your child needs a physical before the new school year.

* If you have a college freshman, many colleges require a physical prior to the first day of class. So be sure to check the admission requirements.
* Also, for middle and high schoolers, a sports physical may be required to determine if your child is able to participate in school sports programs or fall athletic leagues. These physicals assess your child’s physical condition and ability to participate and determine any issues that would put them at risk.
* You can see your primary care provider or visit us at MinuteClinic for either physical.

#2 Check to make sure your child is up to date on vaccination requirements in the state of Wisconsin:

* For example, all students entering 6th grade are required to get a Tdap booster (tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis or whooping cough),
* A new seasonal flu shot is also a good idea and should be available to patients beginning in late August
* We offer these vaccinations at all MinuteClinic locations inside six select CVS/pharmacy stores in the Milwaukee metro area.

#3. Consult with your child's school or school nurse about what prescription and over-the-counter medicines they can bring in their backpack to school.

* Regulations vary widely between schools, about medications like aspirin, cold capsules, cough medicine, anti-inflammatories and even hand sanitizer.
* Make arrangements with the school nurse in advance, especially if your child takes a prescription that could be an issue.

#4. Discuss good hygiene with your child.

* Remind your children about washing hands often; this reduces the risk of germs spreading.
* If your kids participate in sports or carry a water bottle to class, make sure they have their own bottle and do not share with team members or classmates. That’s how viruses, the flu and diseases like meningitis can spread rapidly.
* And make sure they know not to share towels in the locker room. There are serious staph infections like MRSA that can be contracted and spread simply by sharing towels with teammates.

#5. Remind your student about the importance of sun screen

* Even though kids will be back in class, instead of out at the pool, sunscreen is important.
* During gym class or team practice, students are likely outside in short sleeves and shorts. So making sure your child applies sun care is important.
* You want to look for sunscreen products that are labeled “Broad Spectrum.” Broad spectrum prevents against both UVA and UVB rays. They are the only products that can reduce the risk of skin cancer and early skin aging.
* We recommend an SPF of 30 which blocks 97% of UVB rays. An SPF of 50 only provides an additional 1-2% of protection and anything higher is not needed.