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Tampa Bay doctors share tips to keep kids healthy during school year

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Posted at 5:39 PM, Aug 07, 2023
and last updated 2023-08-07 18:23:58-04

TAMPA, Fla. — Back to school means kids are in close quarters, sharing and inevitably spreading germs. Local doctors have a few tips to help get the new school year off to a good and healthy start.

"We actually just got over COVID, so that wasn't fun,” said parent Melanie Welch. “It put a damper on getting our school supplies."

Welch’s daughter is in the second grade, and Welch is all too familiar with what it takes to keep her child healthy as she heads back to class.

"Hand sanitizer, I keep her in a clean environment. I'm Lysoling every day,” said Welch.

Dr. Meghan Martin is a pediatric emergency medicine physician at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital. She’s also a mom of four kids.

She reminds parents that whenever kids are around each other, there's a lot of germ transmission, and that's because of germs spread by droplets, so coughing, sneezing, and also through touch.

"We tend to see a lot of viral upper respiratory infections, some GI illnesses. A lot of them are going to be kind of normal coughs, colds. We do start to see the flu coming into the fall,” said Martin. “We have seen an uptick a little bit in our COVID cases already before school's even starting, so we do anticipate probably seeing more cases.”

Martin said to make sure your kids are washing their hands well, recommending that you can sing the ABCs or Happy Birthday to keep track of time. Other suggestions include keeping kids up-to-date on vaccines, getting enough sleep, and eating healthy.

Martin said to talk to your kids about not sharing personal supplies at school, like water bottles and snacks. She also advises to keep backpacks off the counter.

"Kids go, and they drop it on the floor at school. It's around the sick kids all day long, and then they come home, and they put it on the dinner table, and that's covered with germs,” said Martin.

If your child is sick, especially with a fever, you should keep them home.