Ensure a healthy start to the school year

Ensure a healthy start to the school year

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PORTAGE — Have your children had their immunizations, well checks, and sports physicals? If not, the family medicine doctors at Divine Savior Healthcare are here with tips and tricks to help you and your children have a safe and healthy school year.

“Vaccines are one of the easiest ways to protect your child,” said Divine Savior pediatrician Dr. Cindy Henry. “When you take your child in for their regularly scheduled well checks, their doctor can help you schedule their immunizations for the appropriate time when they are at the highest risk for illness.”

Family medicine provider Dr. Jill Pogorelec added, “Immunizations are so critical because not only do they protect your child, they protect their classmates, the community, or anyone with compromised immunity.”

She continued, “Nutrition is also key for children’s immunity. Getting nutrients directly through a variety of fruits, veggies, whole grains, healthy proteins and not just daily vitamins, is a great way to ensure your child has a high functioning immune system to fight off sickness.”

“Kid-specific foods like juice boxes, sugary cereals and snacks with kid-friendly packaging are not always a healthy choice for children,” warned family medicine provider Dr. Amy Doherty. “It’s best to stick to whole foods and model your eating to encourage healthy eating in your children.”

When it comes to modeling, it goes beyond nutrition, Doherty said. “If you’re having trouble getting your children to wear the proper safety equipment for sports or if they feel uneasy going in for their physical, do your best to model your behavior to ease their mind. If you want them to wear a bike helmet, you wear a bike helmet,” Doherty said.

“Be sure to get your regular checkup to make them feel more comfortable with their bodies, going to the doctor, and talking about how their bodies might be changing,” Henry added.

On that note, Pogorelec said communication is key. “Make sure your children know what a stranger is and what to do if they feel like they are in danger. Make sure you to talk to them about their feelings and validate any feelings of stress or anxiety they are having over a friend, their homework, or a specific school activity,” Pogorelec said.

She suggested children look for someone in uniform if they are in need of help and that families have passwords only people who are safe to go with know. “Having open communication, a stable environment, and routine go a long way in making sure children feel safe and able to work through their feelings,” Henry said.

“If you’re ever in doubt, just give us a call or make an appointment to see us,” Doherty said.

Divine Savior family medicine providers are available at Portage Clinic, Pardeeville Clinic, and Crossroads Clinic in Oxford. Call 608-745-4598 or visit DSHealthcare.com to learn more or schedule a visit.

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