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Is your child all set for the new academic year? Whether you’re preparing for their very first day of school or just another year, one way to avoid the mad shopping rush is by having everything organized in advance.

As you ponder over potential to-dos, here’s a handy Back-To-School Health Checklist to help you out: 

  1. Schedule health and dental checkups for your child. 
  2. Get them up-to-date with recommended vaccines. 
  3. Educate them about personal hygiene and physical distancing practices. 
  4. Inform the school about any pre-existing medical conditions or needs. 
  5. Organize your child’s medical history and immunization records. 
  6. Develop a family emergency plan. 

 

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Health & Dental Checkups

Regardless of your child’s age, an annual back-to-school health checkup is a great way to ensure he/she is healthy and ready for the new school year. This typically includes a head-to-toe physical exam and a review of your child’s medical history. You can also take this opportunity to discuss potential concerns about their diet, exercise, or sleep issues. 

 

Growth Charts and Body Mass Index (BMI)

Physical examinations usually begin with measuring your child’s height and weight.

These are plotted on growth charts, which track your child’s physical development as compared to others of the same age and gender. Many parents grow anxious when their child deviates from their previous percentile on the chart — or is consistently in a lower percentile — but it’s important to know that the numbers are not intended to grade the child’s health. 

Nonetheless, growth charts can serve as an early warning that a child has a medical problem. For example, abnormal growth can signal a pituitary gland problem or disease that requires early diagnosis and treatment.

BMI charts also track childhood obesity, which can have profound effects on a child’s physical health. 

Underweight  Less than the 5th percentile 
Normal / Healthy Weight  5th percentile to < 85th percentile 
Overweight  85th percentile to < 95th percentile
Obese  95th percentile or greater 

 

On the charts, a child between the 5th and 85th percentile is within a healthy weight range. However, they are considered overweight if they end up in the 85th percentile; or obese if they go over the 95th percentile. 

Children who are obese are more likely to have: 

  • High blood pressure and high cholesterol
  • Impaired glucose tolerance, insulin resistance, and type 2 diabetes 
  • Breathing problems, such as asthma and sleep apnea 
  • Joint problems and musculoskeletal discomfort 
  • Fatty liver disease, gallstones, and heartburn 

As such, the doctor might order some blood tests if your child is obese. These can include a cholesterol test, a blood sugar test, or additional tests that check for hormone imbalance and other obesity-associated conditions. 

 

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Vision & Hearing Screenings

Before your child returns to the classroom environment, it’s also important to screen for any hearing or visual impairment that may inhibit their learning abilities.

The inability to see clearly can affect a child’s physical, emotional, and social development, which in turn impacts their academic and athletic performance.

Going for a comprehensive eye examination can also determine the presence of amblyopia (lazy eye) – a condition in which vision does not develop properly during childhood. In most cases, amblyopia can be treated if discovered early. 

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Hearing tests are equally important, as some children may progressively develop hearing loss.

This could be due to an infection, certain medications, or a neurological disorder. Babies who are born prematurely or at a low birth weight are also at an increased risk of developing progressive hearing loss.

This invisible condition can put a child at a serious disadvantage in school. As such, children who do not pass a hearing screening should get a full hearing test as soon as possible. 

 

Dental

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As you prepare for the start of the school year, it is also a good time to book an appointment with the dentist.

Cavities can occur silently in children and worsen without treatment. Even if your child’s teeth seem otherwise healthy, regular dental checkups will allow the dentist to combat sneaky tooth decay and provide the proper care and treatment they need

Your child may also be at risk of periodontal (gum) disease.

Generally, gum disease isn’t painful so one might not know they have it. Most children with gum disease have the mildest form — gingivitis — that causes the gums to become swollen and sore.

Common symptoms include:

  • Bad breath
  • Bleeding while brushing or flossing 
  • Receding gums 
  • Pus between the teeth and gums 
  • A change in bite and jaw alignment 

Find it challenging to remember that dental visit? Set an easy reminder on the Halza app! Learn more about Halza now.

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Vaccinations

Now’s also the time to revisit your child’s immunization records.

Immunization is vital as it helps children develop immunity against life-threatening diseases from an early age. On-time vaccination protects not just your child, but also those around them, from harmful diseases.

During the back-to-school health checkup, be sure to ask the doctor about any shots that your child may have missed, or new vaccines that are now available.

As influenza strains are constantly changing, it’s also good practice to get your child vaccinated every flu season to give them the best protection against flu.

 Related reading:

 

What About Booster Shots?

Some vaccines require more than one dose, or a booster shot to update immunity that has decreased over time.

These are necessary to prevent the return or contraction of certain vaccine-preventable diseases.

vaccine-preventable diseases MMR polio DTaP immunization children halza digital health records

Some examples include: 

  • MMR vaccine (measles-mumps-rubella) 
  • Polio vaccine
  • DTaP vaccine (diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis) 

Given the complexity of immunization schedules and the sheer number of recommended vaccines, it would be helpful to set reminders for upcoming vaccinations.

 

Build That School Rhythm

Back to school season also means it’s time to fall back into the rhythm of the new academic year.

To help eradicate stressful school mornings, establish a regular bedtime and morning routine for your child (about a week or so before school starts).

Consider keeping the same schedule even on weekends to reinforce that circadian rhythm. This will get your child rested, alert, and ready for the big day.

 Related reading:

 

It’s time to look forward to an exciting new school year! 

 

How Halza Can Help

Keeping track of your child’s medical records can be a tedious and time-consuming process. Fortunately, Halza is here to help! 

  • Store all your child’s records on the Halza app and enjoy easy access anytime, anywhere.
  • Keep track of all your child’s Dental information in one place. 
  • Set medicine reminders so your child will always take their doses on time. 
  • Schedule reminders for upcoming health checkups and dental appointments. 
  • Record all your child’s vaccinations and upcoming booster shots. 
  • Chart your child’s growth with the Growth Book feature. 

Download the Halza app today — now available in 26 languages! 

Sources: CDC2345678, 9 – MedLine Plus23 – Evanson DDS – KidsHealth2 – NCBI – NNLM – Mayo ClinicTCFPVery Well HealthStanford Children’s HealthTeach Hub