Keeping Your Child Healthy

Children will be heading back to schools throughout the Ohio Valley in just a few days. That means getting up earlier, seeing old friends and making new ones, remembering to do homework — and being exposed to many more germs than while the youngsters were home for the summer. Local health care professionals point to a health hazard many people have never heard of: viral hand, foot and mouth disease. As we reported, they have noticed an increase in the number of cases of it in our area. For most people, the malady is not serious. It can cause sores in the mouth and on the hands and feet. A concern with children is that they may become dehydrated from not drinking and eating enough. One reason the disease is a concern now is that it tends to hit children under age 7 and can be transmitted to others easily. Children packed together in classrooms and hallways, touching desks, door knobs, etc., that may be teeming with microbes, are at substantially higher risk of contracting diseases than when they are not in school. That makes it especially important that they be taught self-defense tactics such as washing hands frequently. Parents are responsible for ensuring their children know how to safeguard their own health. So, before your youngster starts school later this month, take a moment to go over the basics with him or her. Be certain immunizations are up to date, too. A call to your family doctor can confirm that or, perhaps, make an appointment to get it done. We want the kids to take full advantage of educational opportunities in school. But we don’t want them to learn about measles, mumps or some other illness that can be avoided.