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Improving your child’s health this academic year


child_seeing_doctor_lkctxzWe are a couple of months into the new academic year, and it is a good time to throw light on some simple measures to improve children’s strength and stamina. If you have missed doing some of these during the summer holidays, the long weekend in August (13, 14, 15th of August) is a good period to get some of these done. Schedule an appointment with your paediatrician and dentist:

It is good to update your child’s vaccination status. Children with asthma and chronic illnesses will benefit from flu vaccines. Check if typhoid, hepatitis and chicken pox vaccines are due. The Centre of Disease Control (CDC) and the Indian Academy of Paediatrics(IAP) have websites addressing all vaccination queries and concerns.

Check if your child’s weight, height and nutritional status are optimal. Childhood obesity is a concern today. It is important to keep track of the child’s weight. Mineral and vitamin deficiencies if screened for will benefit from supplements. These conditions affect the child’s attention and assimilative capabilities. For example, iron deficiency, even in early stages, can decrease neurotransmitter functions thus negatively impacting the thought process and memory. Deficiencies in other vitamins and minerals, specifically thiamine or vitamin B1, vitamin E, iodine, and zinc, are shown to inhibit awareness, reasoning and mental concentration. Additionally, amino acid and carbohydrate supplementation can improve perception, intuition, and reasoning. There are also a number of studies showing that improvements in nutrient intake can influence the academic performance and intelligence levels of school-aged children. Imbalance in nutrition leads to behaviour problems.

Dental health: Oral and dental hygiene does prevent bad breath, tooth decay and gum disease and allows kids to keep their teeth as they get older. A look inside your child’s mouth or a swab of saliva can tell your doctor volumes about what’s going on inside the body.

Vision and hearing concerns if expressed by the child are best checked at this time.

Allergies are best tested for at this time if you suspect any.

Map out a schedules and discuss them with your child: Consider positive lifestyle changes that can be implemented creatively like swapping screen time for family board games or outdoor play. Look for opportunities to connect.

Teach your child self care: It is a good time to reinforce healthy preventive care. What children perceive is important self-care depends a lot on what is modelled at home. Hand washing, carrying and using tissues etc are to be reinforced before starting school.

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Dr. Krishna Mahathi holds diplomas in Pediatrics and in the management of allergies and asthma. Years of working and interacting with children and parents have given her insight into developmental disabilities. She wishes that there was more awareness and acceptance of the issues that differently-abled children face and hopes that through this blog, she can enable thse children and their families to make sensible and informed choices.


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