Back-to-school season can bring an increase in coughs, colds, fevers, runny noses, and aches as students spend time in close proximity to each other and touch shared surfaces. Many urgent care providers, such as MedExpress, cite the beginning of the school year as one of their busiest seasons.
In both 2014 and 2015, between the months of August and September, MedExpress saw an approximate 40 percent increase in patients under the age of 18 for illnesses such as colds, stomach viruses, bronchitis, strep throat, pink eye, and sinusitis.
“When kids go back to school, we typically see an increase in visits to our centers as kids are exposed to more and different types of germs," said Thomas Pangburn, MD, Chief Medical Officer, MedExpress. “Touching the same door knobs, desks, and lunch tables as their peers and sharing items with other children can all lead to back-to-school illnesses—especially when a classmate might have a cough or cold.”
Many MedExpress physicians are also parents themselves and face the same challenge of keeping their kids healthy when school starts back up. MedExpress moms and dads share some of their own “school year resolutions” to help keep kids healthy:
- School Year Resolution #1 – Good hygiene
“Every year, we make an effort to talk with our kids about personal hygiene and why it’s important for them to take care of their bodies in order to stay healthy,” said Dr. Lindsay Weglinski, mother of two children, ages 6 and 8. “We ask them to give us examples of how they can do this, such as washing their hands after using the restroom and washing their hands before eating. This helps them understand they have control over their own health.”
- School Year Resolution #2 – Prep the night before
“Mornings in our house can be pretty chaotic with everyone getting ready at the same time,” said Dr. Julia Ellison, mother of three children, ages 4, 6, and 12. “Doing prep work the night before, such as packing lunches and making sure clothes are ready, is a big help so that we can keep a regular bedtime/wake-up routine, get as much sleep as possible, and reduce stress on everyone. I also try to prep plenty of fruits and veggies and store in clear containers in the front of the fridge to make everyone more likely to eat those instead of cookies, crackers, or chips.”
- School Year Resolution #3 – Help the immune system
“The beginning of the school year can put a strain on a child’s immune system,” said Dr. Thomas Pangburn, father of three children, ages 12, 14, and 15. “We try to wash hands, eat healthy meals, wipe down surfaces, and get plenty of sleep.”
If your child experiences a back-to-school illness, it’s always best to consult a health care professional to help determine what’s causing the illness, especially if further care is needed or if your child may be contagious to his or her classmates.
Each MedExpress center is staffed by a full medical team to help students find relief. With no appointments necessary and most insurance accepted, each center can diagnosis and treat back-to-school illnesses such as cold and flu.