Back to School Wellness


Little River, SC (PRESS RELEASE) – Back to school time means a new classroom, new friends, and new germs. The probability of wellness in such a public environment decreases; however, there are ways of improving your child’s overall health.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates an average of three days of school are missed per year due to infections spread by poor hand hygiene.  Now that children are in school, to alleviate them from picking up germs and sharing at home is by practicing good hand hygiene.  Techniques such as washing hands with soap and warm water for about 20 seconds, including the back of the hand, between the fingers, and under the nails: before eating, after using the bathroom, after handling classroom pets, or if they have sneezed or coughed on their hands.  An alcohol-based hand sanitizer is a good substitute for washing and can be kept in their backpack or desk. The importance of getting enough sleep, drinking plenty of water, staying physically active, and following a healthy diet cannot be emphasized enough.  Children learn from the parents/caregivers behavior.

“Parents who practice good handwashing set the example for their kids to stay safe from germs. Good habits learned when children are young, last a lifetime,” said Dr. Sara Camarata with McLeod Family Medicine Seacoast.

Another area of wellness concern in children and adolescents is backpack weight. An estimated 14,000 children are treated annually due to backpack injuries. Most schools still tend to give students large curriculum books. These books are the primary teaching tools for student follow-a-long as well as homework studies.  Multiple books, as well as other materials, can be a heavy load on a young person’s body. No long term effects of this additional weight is likely; however, there is another potential problem. The likelihood of instability substantially increases, which can lead the child to fall. Increased injuries to wrist and arms as well as other areas are possible. It is recommended to not have a child’s backpack to exceed 15-20% of their body weight. This will ensure the child’s level of stability shrinking their chance of injury.

“School is tough enough on children without having injuries from overloaded backpacks. Keep unnecesary items at home and clean out your children’s backpacks weekly to keep them healthy and pain free,” said Dr. Sara Camarata.

Practicing healthy habits at home is the key element of education for overall wellness of children. Having an idea of the load a child carries daily as well as an awareness of their hygiene practices leads to a healthy road of wellness.

About McLeod Loris and McLeod Seacoast:
McLeod Loris and McLeod Seacoast provide care for residents of northern Horry and southern Brunswick and Columbus counties. Founded in 1950, McLeod Loris is a fully-accredited acute care facility with 105 licensed beds. McLeod Seacoast opened in 2000 as an outpatient facility. In July 2011, McLeod Seacoast began providing inpatient care as a 50-bed hospital. On January 9, 2012, both facilities became part of the McLeod family of quality healthcare facilities. An additional facility located in Horry County affiliated with McLeod Health is the Center for Health and Fitness.

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