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Medical Officer Gives Checklist For Back-to-School Preparations

Parents Should Heed Advice for Their Children’s Healt

August marks back-to-school season, an ideal time for parents to help improve their children’s health, said Dr. Sarah-Anne Schumann, regional medical officer of United Health Care of North Texas and Oklahoma.
“Before schedules become packed with classes, homework and extracurricular activities,” Dr. Schumann added, “I am providing a back-to-school ‘health checklist’ to help give children a better chance to succeed inside and outside the classroom.”

The following is her list:

Get a comprehensive eye exam.
“About 80 percent of what children learn is through their eyes,” she stated. “With that in mind, a child’s first comprehensive eye exam should occur before age 1, again at age 3 and before entering school.

“If no vision issues are detected, school-aged children should have an exam at least once every two years.
“Also, a school’s vision screening is not a substitute for a comprehensive eye exam, as screenings can miss conditions such as poor eye alignment, focusing issues and farsightedness.”

“The inability to see clearly can affect a child’s physical, emotional and social development, which in turn can affect academic and athletic performance,” she continued.

“Children often don’t complain if their vision isn’t normal, so, it’s important to look for possible signs; e.g., squinting while reading or watching television, difficulty hitting or catching a ball or headaches when watching 3D movies.”
Also, be aware of digital eye strain, which is caused by prolonged use of computers or smartphones, she went on.
“Help your child practice healthy vision habits by keeping computer screens at least 30 inches from their eyes, resting their eyes every 20 minutes and blinking frequently to avoid dry eyes,” the regional medical officer added.

Get a dental cleaning.

“Maintaining proper oral health matters more than just keeping a sparkling smile,” Dr. Schumann said. “It’s also important for good overall health.
“This is especially true for children, as untreated dental problems may diminish attention, decrease self-esteem and limit a child’s ability to learn at school.”

Tooth decay is largely preventable, yet it ranks as the most common chronic disease among children,” she commented.
“About 33 percent of young children (ages 2 to 8) have cavities in their baby teeth and 20 percent of children in the same age group have cavities in their adult teeth” she explained.
“With that in mind, parents should schedule regular dental exams every six months, especially at schools that require a back-to-school dental checkup.”

“For parents with teenagers,” the medical officer added, “it is important to recognize the risks of opioid addiction, especially after wisdom teeth removal."....To read more, subscribe to the blackchronicle newspaper