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Back-to-School Health Checklist

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Preparing for a Happy and Healthy School Year

With the school year ahead in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, things will look a little different this year. Whether that's in-person, distance-learning, or a combination of the two—it is essential to take the necessary steps to keep our little ones healthy and safe.

Learn more about how you can help to keep your kids and teens healthy and safe as we head back to school and out into our community this fall.

Make Time to Get an Annual Physical

One of the best ways you can help to prepare your little one for the school year ahead is by scheduling their annual check-up with your family doctor. This allows your doctor to get an all-encompassing view of your family’s health to look out for any warning signs of health conditions in the future as well as take the proper precautions to prevent them from ever developing.

Testing During Your Child’s Exam:

Some of the tests you can expect during your child’s wellness exam include:

  • Height
  • Weight
  • Heart rate
  • Respiration rate
  • Temperature
  • Lung exam
  • Heart exam
  • Head and neck exam
  • Abdominal exam
  • Patellar reflex exam


During your child’s physical, your family doctor will also make sure that your child is up-to-date on all of the necessary immunizations for their age group.

the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), recommends the following age groups get these vaccines:

  • 4-6 year olds: DTaP, polio, MMR, and chickenpox boosters as well as the seasonal flu vaccine
  • 7-10 year olds: seasonal flu vaccine
  • 11-12 year olds: meningococcal disease, HPV, and Tdap vaccines as well as the seasonal flu vaccine
  • 13-18 year olds: meningococcal conjugate and serogroup B meningococcal vaccines as well as the seasonal flu vaccine

Instill Good Hygiene Habits

When it comes to protecting your child from sickness-causing germs and bacteria, it’s important that you teach them good hygiene habits that they can practice on their own when they’re at school.

Wash Your Hands Properly

Washing your hands is one of the most effective ways you can prevent the spread of germs. Make sure your child follows these 5 steps at home so they can remember to practice them when they’re at school:

  • Wet your hands with warm, clean running water.
  • Lather your hands with soap, being sure to get bubbles on the back of your hands and between fingers.
  • Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds or the duration of singing the “Happy Birthday” song twice through.
  • Rinse your hands with clean running water.
  • Dry your hands with a clean disposable hand towel.

Cover Your Mouth When You Cough or Sneeze

Covering your mouth when you cough or sneeze is a simple and effective way to prevent the spread of germs to other people and common surfaces. It effectively helps to prevent the spread of the seasonal flu and other viral illnesses.

Be sure to teach your child to follow these steps to help them keep their germs to themselves:

  • Cough or sneeze into the bend of your elbow.
  • Cough or sneeze into a tissue then dispose of it immediately.
  • Wash your hands after coughing or sneezing.
  • Use hand sanitizer when soap and water aren’t available.

Be Careful When Sharing

While we tend to teach our little ones that sharing is caring, it can also be the perfect way to pass germs from one child to the next. Remember to keep these rules in mind when you teach your child about proper precautions when sharing toys, school supplies, and even snacks:

  • Avoid touching your face while playing with or sharing with other kids.
  • Wash your hand after playing with another child’s toys or using someone else’s pens or pencils.
  • Never share drinks, straws, napkins, or eating utensils.

Keep Your Mini-Me Home When They’re Sick

When it comes to the health and safety of our community, it is your duty to keep your child home from school when they’re sick to prevent the spread of viral illnesses. Normally we’re concerned about influenza, but this year anxiety is much higher because of the coronavirus, making it even more important to keep your child home when they’re sick.

During the fall it is common to experience seasonal allergies that strongly resemble the seasonal flu, which now resembles COVID-19. Here are some insights on how to tell the difference between a virus and allergies.

The Flu

Influenza, more commonly known as the flu, is a viral respiratory infection that can cause mild to severe illness. Unfortunately, young children are some of the people who are at an increased risk for developing health complications and even becoming hospitalized because they are sick with the flu.

If you notice any of these symptoms in your little one this fall, be sure to keep them home from school:

  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Body aches
  • Headaches
  • Tiredness
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea

Seasonal Allergies

Seasonal allergy symptoms are often mistaken for the common cold or the flu. However, they are caused by a completely different issue and are not contagious in any way. According to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, the symptoms are actually your body’s immune system overreacting to a harmless substance called an allergen.

Common environmental allergens include:

  • Dust
  • Grass
  • Pollen
  • Pet dander
  • Mold
  • Mildew
  • Smoke

Family Medicine in Duluth, MN

At St. Luke's, our primary care, specialty care, and urgent care clinics are offering telehealth video visits to provide our patients with the quality medical care they need from anywhere. All you need is a device with a camera and an internet connection to speak with your healthcare provider. You can also schedule an in-person visit.

To schedule a visit or if you have any questions, call a St. Luke’s clinic.