Backpacks are jammed with school supplies, closets are stocked with new clothes and shoes, and lunch-prep qualifies as a science at your house. Everybody’s ready for back to school, right? Not so fast. Are you prepared to protect your children from the bugs and crud they’re likely to catch at school?

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

  1. Teach them to wash their hands properly. They should:
    • use warm water and plenty of soap
    • lather up to their lower arms 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
  2. 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.
  3. Have them eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, and drink lots of water. Here’s a guideline for daily water intake based on age and gender:1
  4. Make sure they get enough sleep at night. The National Sleep Foundation offers these guidelines:2
    • 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
  5. Let them play. 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
  6. This one’s a bonus: 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.3

Should I keep my child home from school?

Illnesses and conditions that children commonly contract include:

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 probably be kept home when they have these symptoms:4

  • fever of 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit or higher
  • severe or constant cough
  • 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
  • exhaustion and extreme fussiness

Let Teladoc help

If you haven’t already downloaded the Teladoc 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 school year!



This portion of the Teladoc website occasionally offers health, fitness, and nutritional information and is provided for educational purposes only. You cannot rely on any information provided here as a substitute for or replacement of professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Teladoc cannot assure that the information contained on this site always includes the most recent findings or developments with respect to the particular subject matter covered.

If you ever have any concerns or questions about your health, you should always consult with a physician or other healthcare professional. Do not disregard, avoid, or delay obtaining medical or health-related advice from your healthcare professional because of something you may have read on this site. The use of any information provided on this site is solely at your own risk.

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