Back To School Tips

Top 10 Back to School Health Tips

For most families, back to school also means a trip to the doctor’s office for check-ups. Say Ah!’s list of tips can help you get the most out of these annual visits.

1. Get your forms in order! Check that you have all the school, daycare, and athletic health forms you need for each child so you know which doctors to see and what paperwork you will need to have signed.
2. Call to schedule the appointments. If weekdays are a problem for you, find out if you can see a doctor on weekends.
3 Write down important information (and remember to bring it with you). This includes:
· What medicines your child is taking. Include prescription and over the-counter medications, vitamins, herbs, and supplements (such as protein drinks).
· Important facts about your child’s health. Include allergies, chronic illnesses, and any past surgeries, broken bones, etc.
· Questions or concerns that you — or your child – may have about his or her health.
Make three copies of this list: One for you, one for your doctor and one to give the front desk for your child’s file updates
4. Give your child a head’s up. You may want to prepare him or her for what will happen (or not) at the doctor’s office.
5 Check that your child’s file is correct and up to date. The lists you just made should square with what is in your child’s file.  This is especially important if your child sees more than one doctor or has been to a hospital or an emergency department.
6 Communicate with your child’s doctor! Speak up when you have something to say — you are your child’s advocate! Ask questions whenever you don’t understand something, whether it is a medical term or medication directions.
7. Take notes so you don’t forget what your doctor tells you.
8. Make sure you (and your child too if s/he is old enough) understand important information. This can include medication directions, how to use an inhaler or other medical device, or what to do next if your child has to see another doctor.

Ask your doctor to repeat instructions if you don’t get them the first time.

And check your understanding by saying,  “Okay.  Let me make sure I’ve got this right,” and repeat back to your doctor what s/he just said in your own words. If you go home and realize you have a question, contact your doctor immediately and ask for clarification.

9. Know your child’s weight and height. This is great information to have as many medications are often given by weight.  NOTE: these numbers can change throughout the year, so use them only as guidelines.
10. And finally – don’t forget to get those school, daycare, and athletic forms signed – don’t forget!
These health and safety tips are from Say Ah!, Inc., a nonprofit organization helping people get the most out of their health care.  Feel free to excerpt these tips or use them in their entirety with acknowledgment of source.