LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Back to school time offers the perfect chance to reassess everything, from last year’s grades, habits and even your student’s health.
Doctors with Norton Children’s Hospital say that a pre-school year checkup can do just that, and it’s something they recommend most students take advantage of before heading back to the classroom.
“By doing the physical exam every year, we’re trying to catch little issues to make sur that they are addressed before they turn into big issues,” Dr. Sayeed Kahn said. He’s a pediatrician with Norton Children’s Hospital and a father himself.
Kahn says that monitoring a child’s health from the baseline point that a checkup can give can be very important especially for younger kids who are heading into a schoo- like setting for the first time.
“What I always tell parents is when we start daycare, preschool for the first time, the general expectation is your child will get sick,” Kahn said. “What I also tell parents is every 3-4 weeks expect a new illness.”
That may seem like a lot, but he assures that is normal. He says that young kids don’t know about proper hand hygiene or healthy habits that help us avoid getting sick. With time they learn those skills, but until then the common cold will be a common occurrence.
“Normal is very much, lots of viral illnesses. Strep throat, things like common colds, stomach bugs, all those things are kind of part of the normal daycare, preschool setting,” Kahn said. “They’re not washing their hands all the time. They’re coughing and sneezing on each other. They’re sticking their hands in other people’s faces."
Those kinds of frequent illnesses are as much of an issue as students get older, but Kahn says that different kinds of treatment become a priority.
He says that as kids age, parents should try having more conversations about how they interact with classmates and teachers and how they think and act in school to help them develop socially before the school year begins.
“I’ve already got a kid in second grade, but I’ve got my second child [who is] going to kindergarten this year,” Kahn said. “We’ve had conversations throughout this entire summer about, ‘Hey if you’re upset, you know instead of using our whining words, we’re trying to use our words to tell exactly what’s going on so that an adult can actually help you.”
Kahn says that one piece of advice he gives to kids of any age is to get outside as much as possible. The fresh air and exercise, even if it comes with a few scrapes and bruises, are healthier for kids than if they stayed inside all day.
Officials with Norton say that if you are still looking to get your back-to-school checkup scheduled, do it sooner rather than later.