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Oregon Family Magazine

Pediatricians Offer Guidance for a Healthy Fall

09/01/2020 ● By the providers at Oregon Medical Group
For many of us, the return to school, cooling temperatures, packing of backpacks and buying of pencils signals the start of a new year that is even more significant than January 1.

This year the return to school is different than ever before, making this a time of uncertainty for children and parents alike. Oregon Medical Group providers are witnessing elevated anxiety among all ages. Our guidance is consistently this: It’s important to focus on the elements of your life that can be controlled. Specifically, prevention and good health are both extremely important right now, and in many ways,  they are within your direct control. Here are our tips for navigating this very strange back-to-school season:

Move your body every day. Your kids will get some direction for physical education through their online curriculum. Encourage full participation in the activities that are presented – and give them a try yourself! Moving 20 minutes a day has direct health benefits.

Remember your check-up. This is really important and health providers across Lane County, including Oregon Medical Group, have worked to ensure that you can get your well check and associated immunizations safely. This is especially important for younger children and teens, who receive immunizations more frequently and for serious vaccine-preventable diseases like polio, diphtheria and measles. Flu vaccines will also be even more important this year.

Quit smoking. If you or other members of your household smoke, we urge you to quit. We realize that a stressful time is not an ideal time to give up a comforting habit, but there’s no question that COVID-19 patients who smoke are in much greater danger than those who don’t. Your health care provider can help you quit by providing resources and nicotine replacement options.

Manage stress. We know this is easier said than done but taking a deliberate approach to staying calm is key. Consider what is most natural for you and take up a new habit to help you calm down. For example, if you don’t like exercise, don’t add to your stress by picking up yoga; choose meditation or basic breathing awareness. If you love to move, look for yoga videos or other exercise options.

Boost your immune system. Sleep and healthy food are vital for a healthy immune system. Most people aren’t as busy as usual, but we’re still seeing sleep issues crop up. Greater use of screens may be part of this. Turn off your screens an hour before bedtime and see if you fall asleep more easily and sleep more soundly. Strive for eight hours of sleep for adults and more for kids, depending on age. As for food, make sure that vegetables and fruit make an appearance at your table every day. Some immune-boosting winners are citrus, peppers, carrots and berries. Your goal is to get plenty of Vitamins A (beta carotene), C, E and Zinc. Your pediatrician or provider can guide you to helpful resources.

Stay connected. Social connections are important for our mental health. Use Facetime, Skype, Zoom or simple phone calls to stay connected with others. This is especially important if you are prone to seasonal depression. Make a ‘connection’ pact with a friend and you’ll both be ahead.

Finally, but most important: Follow all COVID-19 prevention guidance. Wear a mask, maintain 6-feet of space from others, wash your hands and stay home and away from gatherings. This will help keep you and the people around you healthy.

This information was provided by Oregon Medical Group. OMG has been caring for Lane County families for more than 30 years and is now accepting patients of all ages, including pediatrics.