Wednesday, November 26, 2014

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Your Back-to-School Health Update

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CNY/NNY/S. Tier: Your Back-to-School Health Update
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There's a lot to think about before going back to school. One of the most important things is your child's health.

Schools will often give parents a number of forms that have to be filled out by a doctor before children can come back to school.

And all kids participating in a school sport must have a physical to show they're healthy enough to play.

"For a lot of people, they think, 'My kid healthy. They're fine. Why do they need a physical?' So one of the things we try to do is identify problems before they start. A great example is vision and hearing. Most children that need glasses don't know it until somebody does a vision screening on their eyes," said Dr. Steven Blatt, Upstate University Hospital Pediatrician.

"Following their growth and development is really important and it's also a really good opportunity to talk to your doctors about any issues maybe have been going on in the school that year or the home," said Dr. Catherine Curry, St. Joseph's Hospital Pediatrician.

The next item on your back to school health checklist is medications. You'll need to make sure to get a doctor's note to give to the school saying what medications your child might need at school and provide those to the nurse.

"It's not enough just to have the inhaler. The parents also need a note from the physician authorizing the school to administer the medication. As kids get into high school, they need to be authorized to carry their own medication. If a parent gives a child medication to take to school and they don't have physician authorization and parental authorization, the child will get in trouble. The medicine will be confiscated," said Blatt.

Doctors say it's also a good idea to have your child's medical information in their backpack, should an emergency situation arise. Include their name, emergency contact information, conditions, medications and allergies.

"If a child has a possibly life-threatening allergy or condition such as Asthma or a serious food allergy, and they are taking the bus, you should make sure there is someone on the bus at all times that is capable of administering emergency medicine if necessary," said Curry.

Before starting school, there's also a list of vaccines kids are required to have. Make sure to talk to your doctor about which ones your kids need.

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