Avera Medical Minute AMcK: Back-to-School Health - KSFY News - Sioux Falls, SD News, Weather, Sports

Avera Medical Minute AMcK: Back-to-School Health

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Kids in Sioux Falls are about to start another school year. The backpacks are filled and ready to go but is your child's health ready? During the summer, bedtimes tend to get later and with school about to start, The Miritello's are working to get the whole family back into a better sleep routine.

"They get a little time on the weekends to jump back into summer but we've got to get them to where we can get them up way earlier than they have been" said Aimee Miritello.

Miritello has started scaling the kids' bedtime back to around eight o'clock over the past week to ease the adjustment. Sleep is not just a parent's best friend, it's actually very crucial for growing minds.

"We know that a lack of sleep can cause a lot of problems for kids one just being mood that a kid who is sleep deprived may be crabby may have problems paying attention and that can lead to problems concentrating and with grades in school." said Dr. Shari Eich, a pediatrician with the Avera Medical Group McGreevy.
 
No child is excited by bedtime, but an easy way to make it easier is to limit their TV and computer use at least an hour before bed.

"Do not include screen time in your bedtime routine because we know that can actually delay sleep because the light from the screen decreases your melatonin production which is how your body tells you to go to sleep." said Dr. Eich

Kindle time is a priority for both Kyler and Kenley Miritello but mom is doing her best to promoting a better alternative.

"We started trying to get really back into the swing of reading a book before they go to bed, we've been doing that all summer, but they're going to do that a lot more now coming up so we'll switch over from maybe Kindles and iPads to books." said Miritello.

Sleep is the first step to having a healthy start to school, good nutrition is the next.

"It is important that your kids eat breakfast before they go out to school, having that food in their belly helps them to concentrate because you can't concentrate if your hungry." said Dr. Eich.

Drinking plenty of water also helps avoid the crash of caffeinated or sugary drinks and a healthy lunchbox does wonders as well.

"(We try to eat) fruits and vegetables as much as we can. We've been lucky and have had really great farmers markets and things like that to find things that give good produce so that they can get that in their system." said Miritello.

At school, every student will come into contact with plenty of germs. Up-to-date vaccines and getting a flu shot can provide a good buffer -- but healthy habits are also key to fighting off infection.

"They know to wash their hands and you see the signs everywhere but they know as soon as they get into something they will run right in and wash their hands and try and help it that way." said Miritello.

Hand sanitizers are good but the suds are best.

"I would much rather have them wash their hands with soap and water especially if they've been out playing on the playground and may actually be dirty, sanitizer is not going to take care of that." said Dr. Eich.

These healthy habits aren't just for the kids, parents can take part as well to ensure everyone is ready for the school year.

"They may not say it right now and agree with me, but secretly they are excited and so we are." said Miritello.

Clinics are already gearing up for the flu shot but if you want the mist instead of the shot, doctors encourage to set an appointment because the mist tends to go very quickly. for more information just call 877-AT-AVERA.

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