Preparing your children for school

The start of a new school year or even a new term can be exciting, especially for those starting school for the first time.  There is a lot to prepare so to help, we've created a health check list to ensure your child is ready or simply click here to find a pharmacy and book a health review for your child with our friendly pharmacy team.  

To help you get started, here's our top health tips to prepare for a healthy school year:

Check your children’s medication

If your child has asthma or severe allergies, it’s important to prepare an asthma or allergy/anaphylaxis action plan with your GP and share this with your school or day care. Chat with the school faculty to see how they manage medication and if there is a medication policy or paperwork required to administer medicine to your child, before the school term starts.

Ensure your child’s teacher is aware of any medication requirements, triggers or symptoms. If your child is old enough, make sure they understand when medication is required. Ask your Ramsay Pharmacist to help teach them the correct technique to administer medications. Book a free one on one consultation with a Ramsay Pharmacist to review your child’s asthma inhaler technique. A spacer will also help your child administer asthma medicines effectively.

Audit your medications and ensure you have spare medication located in strategic places such as at school or your child’s after school activities. Make sure any spare medications aren’t out of date. Your friendly Ramsay Pharmacy team can assist in labelling medications to help you prepare for the new school year.

Preparing for some of the side effects of school such as head lice and threadworms

Head lice

Head lice are common and spread easily amongst school children. Although relatively harmless, these wingless insects can bite causing itching and sometimes irritate the skin. They are about the same size as a sesame seed and live in the hair of humans and animals feeding on blood.

To stop the spread of head lice, notify your child’s school, friends and family who have been in close contact if you find head lice or their eggs (nits). They should check for lice and perform a treatment should they find any.

To treat lice, you can use a medicine-based treatment to kill them or remove and kill them using a wet combing method. It’s important to find the right solution that suits your child and family. Chat with your Ramsay Pharmacist for advice.

Threadworms

Also known as pinworms, these 13mm long parasites look like tiny pieces of white thread and live in the intestines. Children commonly become infected when getting threadworm eggs on their hands and putting their hands in their mouths. Once swallowed, the eggs travel to the lower intestine, they grow into worms and move to the anus to lay eggs and continue the cycle. The eggs can cause children to scratch the area, helping to transport the eggs either to another person or reinfect the same person when swallowed.

Your Ramsay Pharmacist can provide you with an appropriate treatment and good hygiene is encouraged to help stop the spread, including frequent hand washing. Once treatment is started, it’s also important to wash bed sheets, towels, clothes and any other surfaces that may have been exposed to eggs. Keep your child’s fingernails clean and short to help prevent re-infection.

Make sure your child is SunSmart

Exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation as a child has been shown to increase the risk of skin cancer later in life. Although skin cancer is one of the most preventable cancers, Australia has one of the highest rates in the world so it’s important to nurture SunSmart habits in your child from an early age. For the best protection, make sure your child follows the Cancer Council’s five SunSmart steps:

  1. Slip on clothing – cover as much skin as possible
  2. Slop on SPF 30 (or higher) broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen – apply a generous amount to clean and dry skin at least 20 minutes prior to going outside
  3. Slap on a hat – a wide brimmed, bucket or legionnaire style to shade the face, neck and ears
  4. Seek shade – try and stay out of the sun in shade where possible
  5. Slide on some sunglasses – this can reduce UV radiation to the eyes by up to 98%

We have a range of suitable sunscreens to ensure your child is protected when in the sun!

Be prepared with hand sanitiser

We all know it’s important to wash hands regularly for at least 20 seconds. It’s good to pack sanitiser as it’s handy for those moments when your child might not be able to wash their hands.

Vaccinations up to date?

Vaccinations help protect your child against many diseases. Make sure you are up to date with your vaccinations and chat to your GP regarding what is required. For older children your pharmacist can assist with flu shots but this varies between states.

Anxiety

Occasionally feeling scared is all part of growing up but for some kids it can be harder to manage these feelings. Starting big school or even changing schools can be daunting for a child at any age. Try and set a routine you can follow to help alleviate anxiety before the first day begins. Visit your new school and meet the teachers together. On the first day, slow down and take deep breaths together and encourage them to see the change as positive. Visit Beyond Blue’s Healthy Families website for more tips to develop a strategy for your child.

Healthy eating and plenty of sleep

Eating a healthy diet of fruit, vegetables, cereals, lean meats (or alternatives) and dairy and the right amount of sleep is essential to your child’s development, immunity, growth and overall health.

The right diet reduces your child’s chances of developing chronic diseases and means they have the energy to get the most out of life. Teaching children healthy eating habits sets them up to make the right healthy choices throughout life. When packing a school lunch, keep it simple for the little ones, don’t pack things they might find hard to open. Try and cover a variety of food groups, pack interesting snacks and plan ahead so you pack the right food choices to help your child eat healthy. And don’t worry if a lot of it comes home (especially when they’re young) they can sometimes be distracted by lunch time play. If you feel your child’s diet may be lacking, chat with your Ramsay pharmacist who can provide advice on the right supplements until your child’s diet improves.

Irritability, restlessness, disruptive or generally hyperactive behaviour can stem from lack of sleep. It has also been linked to poor growth, excessive weight gain, reduced school performance and mental health problems. According to the Queensland Government’s Children’s Health Hospital and Health Service, the recommended amount of sleep varies by age:

Age

Recommended sleep hours per 24-hour period

Infants: 4 to 12 months

12 to 16 hours (including naps)

Toddlers: 1 to 2 years

11 to 14 hours (including naps)

Pre-schoolers: 3 to 5 years

10 to 13 hours (including naps)

Grade-schoolers: 6 to 12 years

9 to 11 hours

Teens: 13 to 18 years

8 to 10 hours

 

If you need assistance to prepare your child for school, we can help with medication advice, sunscreen, head lice or threadworm treatments, hand sanitiser and vitamins.

Click the button below to book a free Back to School chat with your closest Ramsay Pharmacist in January or February and receive a free Back to School back pack, while stocks last.

 

FIND A STORE AND BOOK NOW 

 

Download your free health check list by clicking on the image below.