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Healthy Tips

Help Keep Your Child in School

Mom’s, dad’s, here are some actions that can be taken to help prevent your child from being ill this winter. Coughs and colds are common during the winter months. With more time spent indoors, it is easier for germs to be spread. But, there are actions that you can take to reduce your child’s chance of getting ill.

  1. Wash your hands. This is your best defense. Wash your hands before eating any foods or snacks. In the school environment your child comes into contact with many shared surfaces (i.e. phones, keyboards, desk tops, etc.). These are great surfaces for germs to grow.
  2. Get enough sleep. Adequate sleep helps your child’s immune system to function properly. Inadequate sleep results in a run down immune system and being more susceptible to illness.
  3. Eat healthy. Eating regularly provides the body with needed energy to fight off disease causing germs and provide adequate energy for daily activities. Do not skip meals. Eating healthy foods is also important. More and more research is showing how food choices affect a person’s immune system.
  4. Continue to exercise. Don’t stop that walking, jogging, or aerobic exercise program now that the weather is cold. Regular exercise, for thirty minutes, three to four times per week is important. Regular exercise does improve the functioning of your child’s immune system.
  5. Drink water. Your child still needs to drink water each day to help flush wastes from their body. They should drink as much water as they can, up to 8 – 8 ounce glasses per day.
  6. Listen to their bodies. The list of five action steps above is not a 100% guarantee of not developing illness this winter. So if your child’s body is telling you that a cold is starting remember to rest early in the illness and not wait until your child is run down. A couple of days out of school is better than a week or longer.

Hope your child has perfect attendance at school this winter. Please call 743-5097 with questions or concerns regarding this information or your child’s health.

How Important is Breakfast?

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day for everyone. Many studies have found that eating breakfast improves learning and memory, improves attention span, improves general wellbeing, and people are less likely to be irritable. For those of you trying to control your weight, studies show people who eat breakfast have an easier time controlling their weight and have healthier eating habits throughout the day.

Breakfast is designed to rev up our bodies for the rest of the day, boosting our energy and metabolism. Imagine how hard it would be to sit in class at 10:30 AM, with no breakfast, and concentrate on school work. Parents, it is so important that you insure your student(s) starts each school day with breakfast.
This can be done by either providing a good meal at home or having your student(s) attend the breakfast program at their school.

Breakfast food should focus on a blend of carbohydrates and protein. The carbohydrates will give the boost of energy to start the school day. The protein will provide the staying power to keep your student alert through the morning until lunch. Some examples of good quick breakfast meals include:

  • Half a bagel with peanut butter and a banana
  • Low-fat yogurt with a pear or apple
  • Tortilla with scrambled eggs and salsa
  • Granola bar and yogurt
  • Dry cereal, milk, and orange juice

Challenge yourself to have your student eat breakfast every school morning so they have the energy they need to do well in school.

Getting a Good Night’s Sleep

How important is a good night’s sleep to your child’s success in school and overall health? More and more studies are showing that students need between 7 and 10 hours of sleep each night. Students who continuously get less than 7 hours of sleep may be more prone to illness, being drowsy, and less able to concentrate the next day.

While you are sleeping, important body functions are at work preparing you for the next day. Your body’s immune system is developing more white blood cells to help fight off colds and infections. The release of growth hormone in children and young adults takes place during deep sleep. Most cells in your body show increased production and reduced breakdown of proteins during deep sleep. In order for your nervous system to work properly, sleep is needed.

A recent article in the Journal of School Health indicated that inadequate amounts of sleep affect school performance. Sleep loss causes a student to be drowsy and affects their ability to concentrate. Sleep loss leads to a decrease in memory function and physical performance. Students who don’t get enough sleep have reduced reaction times, are at greater risk of accidents, and are more irritable.

Recent newspaper and magazine articles indicate that as many as 60% of grade school and high school students report that they are tired during the day. In addition, 15% of students admit to falling asleep while at school.

So parents, give your child the best chance of success at school by having them get 7 or more hours of sleep each night. Things you can do to encourage a good night’s sleep include; setting a standard time for going to bed each night. Make the environment suitable for sleep – dark, cool, and quiet. Keep items that may distract a child from sleep (i.e. TV, video games, computers, etc.) out of the bedroom. Have your child avoid eating food items with caffeine (i.e. chocolate, soda, coffee, etc.) after 6:00 PM.

Developing Healthy Habits In Your Children

Wondering how to develop healthy habits in your child? The American Heart Association has provided 10 tips:

  1. Be a positive role model. Children will generally practice health habits they see their parents using.
  2. Get the whole family active. Plan times for everyone to get moving together.
  3. Limit TV, videogame, and computer time. These habits lead to less physical activity, more snacking, and increased risks for children being overweight.
    Encourage physical activities that your child enjoys. Let them try different activities until they find ones they enjoy doing. Your child will stick with these activities longer.
  4. Be supportive. Focus on the positive aspects of the activity. Celebrate success, this helps to build a good self-image. 
  5. Set specific goals or limits with physical activity. Such as 2 hours of physical activity for every hour of computer or video game time.
  6. Do not use food as a reward for good grades, good behavior, or physical activity.
  7. Work to have one meal a day as family time. Have everyone in the household eat together, without the TV on or cell phones.
  8. Have children help with grocery shopping and read food labels. Help them learn what is good for their health.
  9. Stay involved. Advocate for healthier children. Speak up for good food choices at school. Encourage your child’s friends to participate in the physical activities.
  10. Your use of these tips will have an impact on your child developing healthy habits. 

Good Oral Health

According to the US Surgeon General and the American Dental Association, tooth decay and dental cavities are the single most common chronic childhood disease in the United States. By age 18, more than 80 percent of adolescents have been affected by a dental cavity at some point in their life. The burden of dental cavities restricts activities, leads to absence from school, and affects a student’s ability to concentrate at school.

Two major reasons for the higher risk of dental cavities in children relate to diet and oral care. Data continues to show that children in the United States have diets that are very high in sugar. Sugar that remains in contact with teeth encourages the development of decay-producing acid which causes dental cavities. Additionally, children are known to be less thorough in their brushing and flossing habits than is in their best interest.

To help reduce the harmful effects of tooth decay and dental cavities, the American Dental Association offers these recommendations:

  • Children should brush their teeth at least twice per day and floss daily. Parents are encouraged to supervise their children when they brush their teeth until they are 6 or 7 years of age to help establish good dental practices.
  • Limit between-meal snacks. If craving a snack, choose foods like fresh fruits and vegetables.
  • Drink more water.
  • Visit the dentist at least annually for dental cleanings and oral exams.
  • Ask about dental sealants on the chewing surfaces of the back teeth where decay often starts.
  • Sugary foods and drinks consumed as part of a meal are less harmful than as a snack. Saliva production increases during meals and helps neutralize acid production and rinse food particles from the mouth. Chewing sugarless gum after snacking will increase saliva flow and help wash out food and decay-producing acid.

National Dental Health Month (February) is a good time to reinforce these good dental hygiene practices with your child(ren).

Helping Children Cope with Stress

Children today deal with a variety of stressors in their lives. These stressors can include difficulty with school, a fight with a friend, an argument with a family member, being bullied, or parents divorcing. Children need the support of parents, teachers, and other caring adults to learn how to deal with stress in their lives.

To help support children when they are stressed, family sociologist Ronald Pitzer indicates that parents, teachers, and caring adults need to know the warning signs for stress. These warning signs can include: complaints of a pounding heart, upset stomach or headaches, irritability, lying, declining school achievement, overeating, poor sleep, striking out at a friend or another person, etc. If a child demonstrates a cluster of these symptoms the child may be under an unusual amount of stress.

Mr. Pitzer offers these recommendations to help children learn to deal with stress.

  • Encourage children to be active and exercise. Exercise helps children burn up energy that builds up in the body from stress.
    Provide support and understanding and let children know you care about them. The more supportive adults are, the better equipped children will be to handle stress.
  • Don’t expect children will always come to you when stressed. Reach out to them and begin a talk about what might be troubling them.
  • Provide ways to boost a child’s self esteem by showing interest and providing encouragement. The best way for parents to show interest is to spend time with your child doing a favorite activity.
  • When appropriate, just listen to the child and let them identify suggestions for dealing with their concerns. Then follow up with them to see how their decisions worked out.
  • Make sure children eat regular meals and get adequate rest.

The ultimate goal is to help children learn how to manage stress they experience so they can feel confident in themselves and have a positive self-image.

Students and Medications

Does your child need to receive medications while they are at school? Do you want someone from school to dispense this medication to your child? The School District of Janesville is very interested in helping students receive their medications when they need to be taken during the school day.

In order to provide these medications in a safe manner at school, the district needs to have certain paper work completed. If the medication is a prescription from the doctor, the school will need a statement from the doctor and a statement from the parent. If the medication can be purchased without a doctor’s prescription, the school only needs a statement from the parent.

You can obtain the forms for these statements from the following places: from the school office that your child attends or you may print off the form here.

If your child’s medication or dosage of a medication should change during the school year, new forms will need to be completed before school staff can dispense the medication. If you have questions or concerns about dispensing medications to your child at school, please call the Manager of Health Services at 743-5097.

Use Antibiotics Wisely

What is the harm in giving my child an antibiotic with any cold? Taking antibiotics when they are not needed can cause some bacteria to become resistant to antibiotics.

Antibiotics can cure bacterial infections such as strep throat, some pneumonia, and sinus infections. Antibiotics will not help your child feel better or cure an infection sooner if it is caused by a virus. Viruses cause the common cold, flu, and many illnesses with a cough. Antibiotics are not recommended for these illnesses. Your child will fight off these viral illnesses on their own.

Yellow or green colored drainage from your child’s nose does not mean that your child has a sinus infection. It is normal for the mucous drainage to get thick and change color during a viral cold.

If your doctor should prescribe an antibiotic for your child, be sure your child takes all the antibiotics. Not finishing the medication can also cause resistant bacteria to develop.

Walking Safely to School

Is your child walking to school? Walking to school can be a great way to work in daily physical activity for your child and it also can save you some gas money. Listed below are some safe walking skills to reinforce with your child:

  • Always look for cars. Watch for cars turning into or pulling out of driveways.
  • Always walk on the sidewalk and cross streets in the marked crosswalks.
  • Choose a safe route to walk with the fewest and safest streets to cross.
  • Use the crossing guard whenever possible to cross busy streets.
  • Obey traffic signs and signals.
  • When crossing an intersection look left, look right, and then look left again and behind before walking into the street.
  • Avoid horse play while walking to school. Pay attention to the traffic around you.

Thank you for encouraging your child to walk to school. Your assistance in reminding your child about these safe walking skills will help to increase his/her safety.

Too Sick For School?

One of the problems most often confronting parents of school-age children occurs when a child complains of not feeling well on a school day. A decision must be made as to whether the child stays home or goes to school. How do you make the right decision?
The following guidelines are provided to assist you in making the decision as to when your child should stayhome from school.

A fever is usually a symptom of an illness. Most fevers range between 100 - 104? F. The best way to check for a fever is with a thermometer. If a thermometer is not available, check the child’s forehead with the back of the hand. If it feels hot, keep the child home until the fever can be checked with a thermometer. A child with a temperature over 100? F should not go to school and should be kept home until fever-free for 24 hours.

A rash can often be a symptom of a contagious disease. A skin rash can have many different appearances and cover a part of the body or the entire body. If your child has a rash with another symptom: fever, itching, vomiting, no energy, etc., please do not send your child to school until your doctor has said it is safe to do so. In order to protect the health of the other students and staff in the school, you will need to have a statement from your doctor stating the rash is not contagious and your child can be in school. Please notify the school if your child has a contagious rash (chicken pox, scabies, etc.) so we can monitor other students and staff.

Diarrhea, Vomiting, Stomachache
A child with diarrhea needs to stay home from school. A child who is vomiting needs to stay home from school. In both instances, your child can return to school if they have not had diarrhea or vomiting in the last 12 hours and they have the energy or feel well enough to attend school. A doctor should be consulted if your child’s diarrhea or vomiting continues for more than 24 hours. If your child has a stomachache, with no other symptoms (pain when you touch an area of the tummy, nausea, no appetite, etc.) it is OK to send them to school. Students coming to the health room with a complaint of a stomachache and no other symptoms generally are not sent home.

Cold, Cough, Sore Throat
A child with a bad cough or bad cold symptoms should stay home even though there may not be a fever associated with the illness. If your child complains of a scratchy, sore throat and has no other symptoms, he/she may go to school. If white spots can be seen in the back of the throat or if a fever is present, keep the child home and call your doctor.

Conjunctivitis or Pink Eye
“Pink eye” can be uncomfortable and be contagious. Symptoms of “pink eye” can include the white area of your child’s eye being reddened or “blood shot”, your child complaining that their eyes burn or itch, and your child may have drainage from their eye. If you notice these symptoms, your child needs to be seen by your doctor before coming to school. Please bring a note from the doctor stating it is OK for your child to be in school. If your doctor gives you eye ointment or drops that are an antibiotic, your child will need to be out of school until the medication has been used for at least 24 hours.

Toothaches – Contact your dentist
Earaches – Consult your doctor without delay
Headache – May go to school if this is your child’s only complaint.

Children are known to have been kept home from school for reasons other than illness. Unnecessary absence from school may have a negative effect on a student’s attitude, work habits, and progress.

Use your good common sense and remember:


A student who is well enough to attend school should also be well enough to participate in outdoor activities, such as recess (unless the student has a written doctor’s excuse).

Any teacher, secretary, principal, or nurse can send a student home if they think the student is ill or has a communicable disease (i.e. lice, scabies, etc.).

Specific guidelines have been given to these school personnel to assist them in determining when a student should be sent home.