4 Tips for Parents to Start the School Year

4 Tips for Parents to Start the School Year
August 12, 2022
RxLocal Team

The days are starting to get shorter, the weather is finally cooling down — all reassuring signs that fall is slowly upon us and the school year is about to be back in full swing.

The last couple of years have thrown a huge wrench into students’ academic lives. During the pandemic, remote learning took the place of lively classroom environments and cafeteria chit-chat once became an unknown relic of the past.  

Though we’re still working towards a sense of normalcy, we still live in strange times where the health of the entire world is more precarious than ever before.

Cases of COVID-19 are hardly lowering and the recent monkeypox outbreak is a legitimate health emergency.

It’s not all doom and gloom, though. There are several ways for you or your children to make the most out of the incoming school year in a mindful, healthy way.

Whether you’re dropping your child off to start second grade or they’re waiting for the bus on their first day of senior year, the next school year is going to be one to remember.

1. Making Lunchtime Healthy

Food is fuel, and it’s especially important for children. The health habits they pick up in this stage of their lives will draw the roadmap for the rest of their lives.

Lunchtime is more than cafeteria conversations or a break from the dreary school day. It’s a proper way to recharge and gain a second wind for the rest of the day, so you’ll want to pack lunches that are delicious and nutritious.

Forty percent of total calories for 2-to-18-year-olds are empty calories from processed foods, according to John Hopkins Medicine.

There are a plethora of fruits, vegetables, and every food group in between that will give your kids a healthier body and mind — more energy too (as if they need more of that).

Check out our blog about the wonders (and hard truths) of superfoods and how you create a healthy diet that works for you.

2. Stock Up on Inhalers, EpiPens, and Vaccines

Asthma affects a large percentage of school children, meaning there are prescriptions that need to be filled.

In the case of inhalers, prescribers tend to write up prescriptions for inhalers to be dispensed twice simultaneously: one for home use and the other for school.

It makes sense, right? There are many insurance programs that don’t think so. In fact, insurance companies often place dispensing limits or day-supply ceilings that make the whole process needlessly complicated.

The best way to go about this is to tell your insurance provider about the need to have two inhalers dispensed. They’re usually able to put in an override so the pharmacy can fill the prescription as intended.

Worst case scenario is the insurance will pay for one inhaler but not the other.

Contact the pharmacy to fill one inhaler with insurance and have a separate order filled with a discount card. It’s not preferable, but it’s better than paying out of pocket.

Use our Pharmacy Finder tool to find an independent pharmacy near you to get your child’s prescription back on track.

Either way, you won’t have to worry about depending on a single inhaler for your child. Just make sure you, your doctor, and your local pharmacy are all on the same page so your prescription doesn’t run out too quickly.

Though school nurses are always there to help, having an action plan will give them the proper information to effectively care for your children should an episode occur.

The same goes with EpiPens and other allergy medications. Though schools are required to carry them in certain states, it never hurts to have one available at a moment’s notice.

Also make sure your child is caught up with immunizations, namely the meningococcal vaccine.  

Make an Asthma Action Plan

Consider having an “Asthma Action Plan” so you and your child are aware of both the subtle and clear signs of an impending asthma attack.

Provided by the CDC, it provides clear, easy-to-follow steps on what to do in the event of an asthma attack as well as a customizable template so your pediatrician can make an action plan tailored to your health needs.

3. Masks and Hand Sanitizers are Here to Stay

These next two items are likely going to be staples for the indefinite future. COVID-19 cases are still popping up around the world and especially in the U.S. with new variants emerging with frightening frequency.

That’s why the importance of carrying hand sanitizer — and having a mask handy at all times — cannot be understated.

Though colleges are beginning to act like the pandemic is a thing of the past, mask-wearing and applying hand sanitizer remains a key preventive measure against contracting the virus.

We all know the countless ways the virus can be transmitted by now, so it’s always better to be safe than sorry.

Having small boxes of hand sanitizer will help your child have lunch with a clear peace of mind. Schools are filled with countless surfaces that are touched or brushed by hundreds of students, becoming a hotspot for germs.

Using hand sanitizer or washing your hands before eating or touching your face is no more than just common courtesy.

Buying travel-size hand sanitizer and disinfecting wipes go a long way in promoting general cleanliness. Also, your child might even make some new friends if they lend wipes to someone who doesn’t have any, so it’s a win-win.

4. Lead by Example

Take this incoming school year as a way to cultivate a healthier lifestyle for you and your kids.

As they embark through another year of learning and growing, make sure you’re practicing what you preach and be a role model of good health. Your body will thank you for it.

Check your local pharmacy for the latest on back-to-school vaccinations and other ways to stay healthy and safe during the school year.