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Aug 30, 2018

Healthy Living: Starting the School Year Healthy

Free paper bun… the summer holidays are over and classes resume at primary schools this coming week.  Parents are busy with getting books and uniforms, but there are other activities that go hand in hand before Monday to get the students in the routine for school.  In tonight’s Healthy Living, we share tips with parents to keep the children healthy at the start of the school year.


Marleni Cuellar reporting
In less than a week, these barren school grounds and quiet classrooms are going to be bursting with activity as the children officially return to school. While the knapsacks and uniforms are a part of school preparation, getting the little student prepared starts from now.


Cecilio Eck

Dr. Cecilio Eck, Pediatrician, Pediatric Center
“Prior to school starting this week so or about this time. Start to get them in the rhythm put them to bed earlier. Take away the electronic equipment that they would take to bed with them. With the younger ones start the bedtime routines earlier because you know they’ll have to awaken a bit earlier to get to school.”


Pediatrician Doctor Cecilio Eck advises parents to consider what is called a wellness test before the start of the new school year.


Dr. Cecilio Eck

“In other countries all kids are mandated by their school to visit their pediatrician or their primary care provider and they do a wellness check and that wellness check entails simple parameters, we would examine we would do the weight, height head circumference charting. That is a very good simple measurement of well being. If the child is underweight we advise, if the child is overweight we advise. We also look at in the younger age group the development of the child. If there is anything lacking we go through it with them. At that visit we do simple checks. Check their heart for any abnormal rhythms. We check lungs, we do ear nose throat examination. We go through nay issues that parents may be having and specific investigations would be to check the urine for any issues and the blood. and to do a blood pressure check because kids do get high blood pressure and we do need to identify and treat if we find that in a child.”


This type of check-in will also ensure that your child’s vaccines are up to par. There is a booster shot that children should receive between four to six and another at ten. A vision test should also be included. But, have you ever notices that within the first months of school you’re dealing with a sick little one? According to Doctor Eck, there’s a reason for that.


Dr. Cecilio Eck

“In the younger age groups, preschool kindergarten the kids don’t hand wash as often so they share the love as I call it. The kids share the biscuit and they say let me taste your ideal and so the germs spread between them very rapidly. So we’ve already noticed an up spike in gastroenteritis within Belize and I suspect that will shoot upwards more come next week when school begins.  Acute gastroenteritis is one and acute upper respiratory tract infection is the other. Cough colds flu like illnesses spread when school starts.”


Parents should also take this time to reinforce good hygiene practices before school starts.


Dr. Cecilio Eck

“The preventative care advice would be teach them to wash their hands. Teach them how to sneeze in the sleeve and let them take their “handitizers” to school to sterilize with the bigger ones. The other preventative thing to do is vaccines, which we spoke about. But the other thing would in Belize we are exposed to a lot of parasites and that’s why at that visit we would give the worm medicines and we should give it at least twice a year in Belize.”


Similarly, encourage a healthy lifestyle from a young age from good nutrition to fitting in more activity.


Dr. Cecilio Eck

“If they are skewing towards obesity I explain to the parents that we notice this trend. I want you to have good food choices. Give more water to drink. Avoid all the excessive caloric snacks and gives fruits and veggies to eat and choose wisely.  Nowadays you have these hand held device that you walk around with 24/7 what is recommended now is limit it to at least less than two hours a day and if you go over two hours a day then they have to earn it meaning after two hours re up you can set the machine to shut off and then they have to run bout outside and exercise and play. I do advise as well in that same light to enroll them in some exercise activity that is structured. Don’t buy a bicycle that will stay in the corner. Enroll in volleyball. Enroll in karate classes so that they can continue to exercise and utilize the muscles. Expend the calories and they’ll be healthier.”


Lastly, there are some childhood injuries that will happen. While, unpredictable in nature you can teach your children to take extra precaution.


Dr. Cecilio Eck

“At school you get accidents as well, falls, throwing of objects, running with the scissor. So I want parents to teach your child to look out for dangerous activities. Report it if you see any and avoid if it’s coming in your direction. You can’t protect them from the world but you can give advice how to prevent most of the bad things.”

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Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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