How can I keep my child healthy at school?

Going back to school brings a lot of things: shopping for new clothes and school supplies, meeting new teachers, perhaps even trying out for one of the school sports teams. However, going back to school also raises the potential for illness. Keep your child healthy and start the school year on the right foot with these tips:
  • Ensure your child has up-to-date vaccinations and physicals.
  • Practice good hygiene.
  • Help build your child's immune system.
  • Communicate with the school about your child's medical conditions.
  • Don’t let kids share food or drinks with friends at school
  • Apply sunscreen even in colder months
  • Pack your child their own water bottles to keep them from having to use the common water fountain
  • Teach your child to cough or sneeze into a tissue or the inside of their elbow, rather than a bare hand, to avoid spreading germs.
  • Encourage at least an hour of physical activity a day
Here are some tips to keep your child healthy at school:
  • Germs love to run amuck through classrooms. Encourage your child to wash her hands thoroughly and throughout the day. Good handwashing can help prevent infections from spreading. Many classrooms also encourage hand sanitizer use. 
  • Good nutrition is important to maintain health and to feed your child’s brain during school hours.  Plan to have your child buy or bring lunch, depending on the options available. Talk to her about choosing healthier options, when possible.
  • Talk with your child about bullying. Discuss what she should do if she is bullied or sees another student being bullied.
  • Go over school bus and playground safety with your child.
  • Talk with your child about when to see the school nurse. 
  • Make sure the school has your child's emergency medications (such as epinephrine injectors or asthma inhalers) and their instructions.
This answer was created with the help of physicians at South Riding Pediatrics ( and

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.