COLUMBIA- Medical health professionals try to make students of all ages as healthy as possible going into a new school year.
Pediatric Infectious Diseases physician Christelle Ilboudo said parents should plan on not only giving their children the regular cold and flu vaccines this fall.
She expects to see the influenza virus in large quantities this year, particularly for toddlers age two to five.
"We see so many kids getting viruses because they have never been exposed to them before, they don't have the immunity. And, as people get older, their hand hygiene improves and then get sick less," Ilboudo said.
Ilboudo recommends that everyone treat themselves with the influenza vaccine when it becomes available in October.
She said many people can miss the forest for the trees when it comes to infectious diseases.
"Living in the global world that we do, a lot of people focus on the big diseases they see in the news, like the Zika virus. We should spend more time focused on the things that actually affect us us in Missouri, like Influenza," Ilboudo said.
Back to school health involves not just physical, but mental well-being.
Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist Garima Singh said cyber-bullying should be a chief concern for parents of children of all ages.
"Bullying has exponentially grown, in fact, I think we're having a bullying epidemic right now," Singh said.
With approximatley 20-25% of children on the receiving end of bullying through social media, she believes parents should take a more active role in monitoring the web activity of their kids.
She listed the following tips for parents who are looking to help their kids use the Internet safely.
- Have conversations with kids about what cyber-bullying is, and what it looks like
- Keep the computer kids are using in a common area that can be monitored by a parent
- Teach kids how to use the privacy settings on the social media sites they are using
- Know the username and passwords for kid's social media sites.
- Don't take away kid's phones, but rather make sure they are using it safely.