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School during a pandemic: how to protect a child from infection and strengthen his immunity

The beginning of the new school year is approaching. Many districts have announced their readiness to resume full-time education for children or their intention to use a hybrid model, in which students will be required to attend some classes in person and some listen online.

Photo: Shutterstock

After nine stressful months of quarantine and an ongoing pandemic, many parents fear the risks to their child's health. And for good reason. COVID-19 has not disappeared anywhere, and the threat of infection is still high. However, it is not worth stopping your life and giving up the normal education of the child.

Fidelis Care and New York State PTA are proud to announce launch programs "Every child is healthy" - an initiative aimed at ensuring the health and well-being of children and their families during the summer and new school year.

New York State Parents and Teachers Association with the company Fidelis care offers a number of measures that will allow parents to ensure the safety of the child and minimize the risks of infection with the coronavirus. These measures will be useful in normalizing the epidemiological situation for both children and adults.

Hand washing helps fight germs

Teach your children to wash their hands regularly to prevent diseases and infections such as COVID-19, influenza, SARS, streptococcus (sore throat), RSV (respiratory syncytial virus), conjunctivitis (acute epidemic conjunctivitis) and bronchitis.

Diseases like COVID-19 enter the body through the T-zone - the area of ​​the face that includes the eyes, nose and mouth. People, especially children, touch this area more often than they think, so let's make sure they keep their hands clean.

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Make sure children wash their hands as often as possible:

  • After using the toilet
  • Before eating
  • After blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing
  • After touching animals or their food
  • Immediately after playing outside

It is important not to forget:

  • Use clean running water and soap
  • Lather the palms, the back of the palms, between the fingers and under the nails
  • Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds. Have the children sing the song Happy Birthday twice.
  • Rinse hands thoroughly with water

If soap and water are not on hand, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer (containing at least 60% alcohol).

Make sure your baby is eating well

Eating a variety of healthy foods is key to children's health, immunity, and wellness, helping them develop healthy habits for life. Parents and family members can help children learn the basics of healthy eating, make smart choices, and control portion sizes.

What children should eat

Here are some helpful tips from the American Academy of Pediatrics for elementary school children:

  • Vegetables - 3-5 servings per day (1 cup raw leafy vegetables, 3/4 cup vegetable juice, or 1/2 cup other chopped vegetables, raw or cooked).
  • Fruit - 2-4 servings per day (1/2 cup sliced ​​fruit, 3/4 cup fruit juice, or a medium-sized whole fruit (apple, banana, or pear).
  • Cereals - 6-11 servings per day (1 slice of bread, 1/2 cup rice or pasta, or 1 ounce (30 g) of cereal).
  • Protein - 2-3 servings per day (2-3 ounces (60-100 g) cooked lean meat, poultry, or fish; or 1/2 cup cooked legumes, one egg, or 2 tablespoons peanut butter for every 30 grams lean meat).
  • Dairy - 2-3 servings per day (1 cup low-fat milk or yogurt, or 1 1/2 oz (50 g) natural cheese).

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In most cases, children love tasty, but unhealthy foods, and you need to try to replace them with more healthy ones.

Several options for such a replacement:

  • Fruit juice can be replaced with water (it contains less sugar).
  • Offer whole grains instead of white bread as it has more fiber
  • Energy bars should be replaced with sugar-free cereals
  • Unsalted nuts are a great substitute for chips, as the former contain more protein and less salt.
  • Instead of sweetened yogurt, it is better to eat fruits - they have more fiber and less sugar
Need to move more

An active lifestyle is one of the keys to children's health and wellness.

From walking the dog to running in the park, daily active play helps kids stay healthy and build healthy habits for the future. Children should have physical activity for at least one hour a day. Parents should also join these games - they only benefit from it.

The benefits of an active lifestyle:

  • More strength and energy
  • Stronger bones
  • Weight normalization
  • Improved mood

To motivate the child to move more, turn physical education into entertainment by choosing the type of activity that is interesting to the child, because any physical activity brings health benefits.

Protective equipment and distance

Of course, do not forget about observing the rules of social distancing and wearing masks. The effectiveness of these measures has been proven by several studies, and the child should be taught that these rules should not be violated, at least for the next few months.

The preventive measures described are important for every child, and parents of babies with asthma and other respiratory diseases should be especially vigilant.

If your child has asthma

Asthma can cause the airways to narrow or swell, making breathing difficult. In a so-called asthma attack, the symptoms suddenly worsen. Breathing can become even more difficult if asthma is combined with respiratory conditions such as COVID-19.

Parents and family members can help control asthma in children. By making sure children are taking the necessary medications and avoiding common triggers and diseases, we can help them breathe easier.

What parents need to do with asthma

Make a seizure control action plan

It must be formed with your child and your health care provider. It is a written document that clearly explains how to treat the child's illness and how to react quickly in case of an attack. Availability a clear plan of action for controlling asthma can save a child's life. A sample of such a plan for printing is available at the link: health.ny.gov/publications/4850.pdf.

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Get rid of provoking factors

Make sure that your child's bedroom is free of such common factors that trigger asthma attacks, such as pollen, dust and hair from household animals. Wash all sheets, blankets and pillowcases in hot water once a week from his bedroom.

Watch the weather outside

Extreme heat or cold can aggravate the symptoms of the disease. Parents need monitor the amount of pollen, mold and try not to remove the child to the street on days when their concentration is maximum.

As part of programs "Every child is healthy" Useful resources are available on NYS PTA and Fidelis Care websites, as well as on social media:

  • children's videos and leaflets;
  • webinars for parents;
  • advice and guidance from pediatricians, educators and other healthcare professionals.

As many families have faced unexpected loss of income or job changes due to the COVID-19 outbreak, the program also provides information on affordable health insurance options for children and adults of all ages.

Company Fidelis care wants every child who needs health insurance to get coverage before they start school this fall. Fidelis Care offers New York State sponsored health coverage including Metal-Level Products, Child Health Plus, Essential Plan and Medicaid Managed Care through NY State of Health, the official health plan marketplace, for eligible children and adults of all ages and at all stages of life. To find out more, call 1-888-FIDELIS or visit the Fidelis Care website: fideliscare.org.

Material prepared in partnership with

Fidelis care

1-888-FIDELIS (1-888-343-3547)
External Relations Specialist Leonid Kopeikin: (347) 642-2993

academic year Educational program Fidelis care

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Medical insurance during the crisis: what to do to those who have lost their jobs and got sick COVID-19

Technology vs health: how to effectively control the use of electronic devices by children

Healthy and successful: how to prepare your child for the new school year

5 important facts about affordable health insurance for children in New York

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