Island Health offers tips for a healthy start to school year

Back to school can mean back to bugs and germs.

School starts Tuesday (Sept. 3) and that means it’s time to make sure you brush up on your A-B-Cs. Island Health is encouraging parents and guardians to take some simple steps to ensure a healthy start to the school year.

Avoid spreading and catching germs

Back to school can mean back to bugs and germs. One of the best ways to avoid getting sick with common illnesses, including colds and flus, is proper hand washing. Soap and water is best, but hand sanitizers are a good option when soap isn’t available.

Children should always wash their hands before and after eating, after every trip to the bathroom, after gym class, playing outdoors, playing with pets and as soon as they get home. Parents and guardians should help young children wash their hands to ensure it is done well and to teach them how to do it properly.

Proper hand hygiene tips are on the Island Health website at www.islandhealth.ca/learn-about-health/handwashing/handwashing.

Boost nutrition

It is important for children to eat well in order to fuel their brain and their body. Packing healthy, nutritious and interesting snacks and lunches gives kids the energy and nutrients including the vitamins and minerals they need to support their learning and activity throughout the day.

Don’t forget to send a water bottle for hydration and provide your child with a healthy range of foods following recommendations in Canada’s Food Guide.

Healthy lunch and snack options:

• Lean protein (chicken, fish, eggs, lentils, hummus, nuts and seeds).

• Single-serving lower-fat milk, plain yogurt and cheese

• Fresh fruit

• Crunchy vegetables and dip if it makes the veggies more appealing

• Granola bars or power cookies

• Whole grain foods like bread, crackers, tortilla, naan or mini pitas

• Send healthy leftovers in an insulated thermos and remember to include an icepack for cold items

Create a safe environment

As children become more independent, they need to learn how to keep themselves safe and avoid serious injury.

Teach ways to avoid risky situations and make sure rules are clear and consistent:

• Identify the safest walking and cycling routes to and from school and travel in groups, that way children are move visible to motorists.

• If you drive, make sure everyone wears a seatbelt and obey the school speed zones.

• Ensure your child always wears a helmet when on wheels, including biking, rollerblading, or skateboarding.

• Create an open dialogue about safety risks and teach children how to make safe choices.

Besides the ABCs, more healthy back to school tips are available on Island Health’s Healthy Schools webpage.


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