After months at home, kids are finally prepping to go back to school. The classroom may be different this year, but we are still brimming with excitement about a new school year! Let’s take a look at some much-needed precautions and health tips to help kids stay well this season.

Here are seven easy tips to help keep your children healthy and happy:

  1. Have them get a flu shot. Children six months and older can get the flu vaccine each year. This is especially important for children with asthma, heart disease, diabetes, weakened immune systems or obesity.1
  2. Know when to keep your child home from school. Illnesses and conditions that children commonly contract include:


    • Allergies
    • Cold
    • Cough
    • Diarrhea
    • Flu
    • Lice
    • Pink eye
    • Rash
    • Sore throat
    • Upper respiratory infection
    • Upset stomach
    • Animal and
      insect bites
    • Bronchitis
    • Cold sores
    • Sinusitis
    • Tonsillitis

    Especially when you’re dealing with highly contagious illnesses such as flu, lice, pink eye or strep throat, letting children miss a few days of school might be the best way to help them recover and protect other students, parents and teachers. Kids should be kept home to protect the community at large when they have the following symptoms, especially in light of the COVID-19 pandemic:2

    • fever of 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit or higher
    • severe or constant cough
    • difficulty breathing
    • headache or muscle aches
    • exhaustion and extreme fussiness
    • red eyes with a yellowish or cloudy discharge
    • they’ve vomited or had diarrhea in the last 24 hours
    • rash
    • extremely sore throat with red or white patches
    • severely hurting ears
    • a cold for more than 10 days
  3. Teach them to wash their hands properly. They should:
    • use warm water and plenty of soap
    • lather up to their lower arms, between fingers, and under their nails for 20 seconds (teach them a little song to sing for 20 seconds)
    • rinse with clean, warm water
    • dry their hands thoroughly with paper towels
  4. Retrain them not to cover their cough with their hands. Cough into the fabric of a sleeve or pull out the neck of the shirt and cough toward their chest. Better yet, wearing masks or face coverings will help prevent the spread of germs from coughs and sneezes among schoolchildren.
  5. Explain what social distancing means. For kids returning to in-person school, demonstrate a 6-foot measurement and encourage them to stay that distance from other students and teachers. “Physical distancing” is a more accurate descriptor: kids can still socialize (and learn) at that distance, or engage in virtual activities.
  6. Have them eat healthily, drink lots of water and get plenty of sleep. To boost their immune systems, kids should eat plenty of fresh, nutrient-rich fruits and vegetables. And here’s a guideline for daily water intake based on age and gender:3
    AGE (years) GENDER GLASSES (ounces)
    4 to 8 Boys and girls
    • 5 (40 oz.)
    9 to 13
    • Girls
    • Boys
    • 7 (56 oz.)
    • 8 (64 oz.)
    14 to 18
    • Girls
    • Boys
    • 8 (64 oz.)
    • 11 (88 oz.)

    For getting enough shut-eye each night, the National Sleep Foundation offers these guidelines:4

    • Children between 6 and 13 should sleep 9 to 11 hours
    • Teens up to 17 should sleep 8 to 10 hours, and no fewer than 7 hours
  7. Let them play outside. Children from the ages of 6 to 17 should get at least one hour of moderate to vigorous activity every day to improve their fitness and increase their resistance to illness. According to the Centers for Disease Control, they should include 180 minutes (one hour, three times a week) of these types of activities:
    • aerobic exercises to improve their cardiovascular system (heart and lungs)—jogging, playing soccer, swimming
    • weight-bearing exercises to strengthen their bones—running, jumping rope, climbing stairs, dancing
    • muscle-building exercises, which also strengthen connective tissues (ligaments and tendons)—sit-ups, push-ups, use of elastic exercise bands and plenty of stretching to reduce chance of injury

Let Teladoc Health help

If you haven’t already downloaded the Teladoc Health app, go ahead and do that now—and be sure to add your eligible dependents—so you’ll have peace of mind that comes with access to top-quality healthcare when you need it, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Our board-certified physicians can diagnose and treat a wide variety of non-emergency conditions. And when medically necessary, they can send a prescription to a pharmacy near you. Pick one using the convenient pharmacy selection tool in the app. Here’s hoping your children have a great and healthy school year!

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Last updated on July 7, 2020