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Staying Healthy Throughout the School Year

SeelhammerParents of school-aged children know that getting kids ready for school involves more than a new wardrobe and backpack filled with school supplies – it also involves back to school vaccinations.

The county plays an important role in public health and now, with the start of school, is a good time to remind people about vaccinations and other health tips.

Students from preschool to college all need vaccinations. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), making sure that children of all ages receive all their vaccinations on time is one of the most important things parents can do to ensure their children’s long-term health, as well as the health of classmates, family and others in the community.

Parents who choose not to vaccinate their children increase the risk of disease not only for their own children, but also for other children and adults throughout the entire community. For example, vulnerable newborns too young to have received the maximum protection from the recommended doses of vaccines or people with weakened immune systems are also at higher risk of disease.

To keep children healthy, Arizona requires schoolchildren be vaccinated against a host of infectious diseases. Information regarding Arizona required school vaccinations is available at www.coconino.az.gov/health.

Many area health care providers and the Coconino County Public Health Services District (CCPHSD) Clinic offer Arizona school required vaccinations. Assistance programs are available for children without insurance. More information is available by calling the CCPHSD Clinic at 928-679-7222.

Back to school can also mean increased exposure to germs. Schools work hard to keep shared areas clean, but germs tend to circulate in classrooms. Practicing good health habits can help to keep children healthy while at school and at home. According to health officials, these simple actions can stop the spread of germs and help protect you and others from getting sick:

  • Wash your hands frequently, especially during the flu season.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
  • Avoid contact with people who are sick.
  • Cover your mouth with your upper sleeve or with a tissue when coughing or sneezing.
  • Don’t share eating utensils, cups and straws.
  • Stay home when you are sick.

    It is also important for kids to eat a healthy diet, exercise and to get plenty of rest so their bodies stay healthy. Sleep deprivation lowers the immune system’s ability to fight off infection. School-aged children should get 10 to 11 hours of sleep every night, according to the CDC.

All of these tips will go a long way to keep your child healthy this school year. Have a healthy and successful school year! FBN

Cynthia Seelhammer is the manager of Coconino County.

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