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Back to school - how to combat health concerns

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We discuss common back to COVID-19 school health concerns you may experience as a parent, teacher or carer and how best to tackle them.

 As many children return to the classroom after a long lockdown period, some parents, teachers and carers may have back to school health concerns across a range of issues.

Here we’ll discuss some of the back to school health concerns you may be facing at the moment and how best to tackle them.

1. General anxiety

For many of us, the Covid-19 lockdown and social distancing measures started out as an unimaginable change. Fast forward a few months, however, and we’ve adjusted to this strange new way of living. Now, we’re experiencing huge levels of change once again as children return to school. So it’s understandable that many young people and their parents may experience some back to school health anxiety at this uncertain time.

With new social distancing measures in place, the classroom will be strange and unfamiliar for many students. Parents may be concerned about the risk of their children catching Covid-19 or passing it onto vulnerable members of their family. Whilst many teachers will be apprehensive about the new rules they’ll need to enforce and their own risk of infection in the school environment.

If you’re experiencing any sort of back to school health anxiety, it’s worth having a chat with your GP or booking an online consultation with one of our trained psychotherapists. Or you can do some research online to understand more about anxiety and how to manage it. The Mind charity website is a fantastic place to start and has loads of helpful information and resources to help you deal with anxiety. Or you can visit the NHS site for information and advice.

2. Better hygiene and hand washing

There’s no escaping it, hand washing will be a key aspect of back to school health for children. We know that it can be challenging to encourage young children to wash their hands at the best of times! But it’s really important that children get in the habit of regular and thorough hand washing when going back to school and also around the home.

For younger children it can be helpful to make hand washing a bit of fun, perhaps with funky soaps, special hand washing songs or competitive games. Try to avoid scolding or scaring your child into washing their hands as this could cause anxiety or may have the opposite effect, meaning your child might avoid washing their hands entirely.

3. Seek support

We all know that children often pick up common colds, coughs and bugs in a school environment. Whilst you may be concerned about visiting your doctor’s surgery amid the Covid-19 infection risk, you shouldn’t put off taking your child to see a GP if they are unwell. 

That’s where online GP appointments can help. Instead of busy queues, lengthy wait times and exposure to other people who may be ill at your local surgery or clinic, an online GP appointment will give you peace of mind from the comfort of your home. 

You can register and book an appointment on the same day and our trained team of healthcare professionals will take the time to understand your child’s symptoms, make a diagnosis and prescribe any medication your child needs. They can also make a referral to a specialist if necessary.

4. Staying healthy

The best way to stay healthy is to eat a nutritious, balanced diet, take regular exercise and practice relaxation and mindfulness techniques to keep your mind and body calm and focused. It’s also helpful to keep your home clean and hygienic and spend as much time outdoors as possible. It’s been proven that spending time in nature can be beneficial for your mental and physical health.

Children learn so much by watching the people around them, so be aware of how your own anxiety might affect your ability to reassure your child - try to speak to your child when you’re feeling calm yourself. It’s key that you create a safe space where they can speak openly about any fears or worries they have when returning to school. 

At Vala Health we can support you in staying healthy and addressing any back to school health concerns you have. Our highly trained and friendly team of GPs and specialists will conduct your consultation over video chat or the telephone from the comfort of your own home!

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