Summer Edition - July 2020
Back-to-School Checklist for Parents and Kids

As the start of another school year approaches, parents and kids may be dealing with a "new normal" due to COVID-19. Some kids may be learning from home virtually, while others will be in a classroom, but having to learn differently through social distancing and other safety measures. Adapting to these changes can be tough for kids, but with a little bit of creativity and fun, parents can lessen any stress or difficulty their kids might experience. Tips and advice to help both parents and kids get through these difficult times are provided below:
For children heading back to the classroom this school year , here's a checklist to help parents with what their child will need to get them ready:

  • Has your child had their annual physical or dental check-up? Florida KidCare covers these visits for kids. For more information, you can contact your child's insurance company by finding their contact information on the back of your child's insurance ID card.
  • Is your child up-to-date on their immunizations? The Florida Department of Health provides information on the types of shots recommended for students attending public/private school in Florida for the 2020-2021 school year. This information can be found in English, Spanish and Haitian Creole.
  • Have you purchased school supplies your child will need for learning? These include such items as pencils, notebooks, paper. Check with your child's school for a list of what they will need according to their grade level.
  • Have you thought about healthy foods and snacks you will make for your child's lunch or to give them after they get home from school? Make a list of their favorite foods and try new combinations, such as peanut butter with apples or ranch dip with carrots. Check out these healthy nutrition tips from Florida KidCare by grade level: Elementary (ages 5-10); Middle School (ages 11-14); High School (ages 15-18)

For parents with special needs children, click here to read more about ways you can prepare your child for returning to school courtesy of Reading Rocket.
For children learning at home this school year , the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends the following for parents:

  • Stay in touch with your child's school to learn about online lessons, any challenges with technology or connectivity your child may encounter.
  • Create a flexible schedule and routine for learning at home through consistent bedtimes, a daily routine with time for learning, free time, healthy meals and snacks and physical activity.
  • Consider the needs and adjustments required for your child's age group by talking to your child about expectations and how to keep your child connected to their friends without spending time in person.
  • Look for ways to make learning fun by having hands-on activities available, such as puzzles, painting, drawing, etc. Have your child practice handwriting and grammar by writing letters to family members, start a journal to document their time and this shared experience and use audio books or see if your local library is hosting virtual or live-streamed reading events.
  • Ask about school meal services - many schools are keeping facilities open to allow families to pick up meals or are providing grab-and-go meals at a central location.

For fun online family activities, the CDC provides access to games and other resources to help your child keep learning this school year, such as:

Stay Well While Staying Safe: Vaccinations
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Right now, it might seem unsafe to take your child to the doctor unless they’re really sick or hurt. Keep in mind, getting vaccines on time can help strengthen your child’s immune system and prevent many illnesses.

The American Academy of Pediatrics still encourages parents to get babies and young children vaccinated. If and when you go out, wearing a mask and washing your hands often will help keep yourself and others safe. Call and talk with your child’s pediatrician about how to keep them on schedule with their shots.

We’re here to help you and your family stay healthy.
How to Handle Dental Problems
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Dental problems can happen anytime, anywhere. What do you do when one happens to your child?

The best thing to do is to call your child’s dentist for help, but if you can’t get to the dentist right away, try one of our tips below.

If your child gets a tooth knocked out, keep the tooth moist. Try placing the tooth back in the socket without touching the root or between the cheek and gums.

If that doesn’t work or you have a younger child, you can put the tooth in milk until you get to the dentist.

For a cracked tooth, rinse the mouth with warm water to clean the area.

If your child has a toothache, rinse the mouth with warm water and gently use dental floss between the teeth. This will remove any food that may be causing the pain. Some toothaches are caused by an infection and can be very serious. They need to be treated right away.

With a dental problem, it’s important to call your dentist. Your dentist will decide how and where your child can be seen.

If the problem happens on the weekend or at night, you should still call the dentist’s office. Most dentists will provide instructions on their answering machine for dental problems.

Celebrate National Parents' Day
Parents' Day is celebrated every year on the fourth Sunday of July. It became an official holiday in 1994 and is a time to honor parents for the hard work they do of raising the next generation. On Parents' Day, people are encouraged to recognize the important contributions of responsible, committed parents in their communities. It's also a day for parents to celebrate the teamwork in raising children and support the role of parental guidance in building a strong, stable society, according to the National Parents' Day Coalition.

Here are five suggestions for making Parents' Day memorable:

  1. Enjoy a family breakfast
  2. Make a scrapbook
  3. Take a new family photo
  4. Share words of appreciation for your family
  5. Host a virtual family reunion

Whole Child Connection is designed to provide a simple, straight-forward way to connect local families with the help that they need. It is available to all Martin County children and their families, ensuring anonymity while giving them access to a wide range of community services. We celebrate and thank the Whole Child Connection community and partners in helping families lead healthier and more fulfilling lives.

To learn more about the WCC program or access services please visit or call 772-489-3034.

Take the Heat Off! Things to Know about Heat Exhaustion and Heat Stroke
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Heat exhaustion occurs when our bodies are exposed to high temperatures, typically when outside temperatures and the heat index exceed 90 degrees F.

Heat stroke may follow heat exhaustion if it is not properly treated. Heat stroke can lead to brain damage, damage to other vital organs and sometimes to death.

Symptoms of heat exhaustion include dizziness, fainting, fatigue, headache and confusion. Other signs include excessive thirst, body weakness, muscle cramps, nausea and vomiting.

Prevention of heat exhaustion. Avoid going outside when the heat index is high. If you must be outside, wear loose-fitting clothes and drink extra fluids to prevent dehydration. Avoid drinks that contain caffeine or alcohol as they can make you lose more fluid.

If you have to exercise outside, drink eight ounces of water every 20 minutes and avoid being outside for prolonged periods of time.

Treatment will include drinking fluids, especially sports drinks to replace lost salt. Remove tight clothing and apply cooling measures, such as fans or cold towels.

Call for emergency medical help if you or your child is not feeling better in about 15 minutes as heat exhaustion can quickly progress to heat stroke which can lead to organ damage or death.

Be safe in our sunny Florida - know the facts and take the heat off! 
Back-to-School Immunizations
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It’s time to make sure your child is up to date with their vaccines! The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has led to a decrease in the number of vaccines administered across the state of Florida. In fact, there was a 40% decrease in vaccines administered in April 2020 compared with April 2019 according to Florida SHOTS, our statewide online immunization system. It is important to stay on schedule with immunizations now more than ever. Those who are not fully vaccinated are more vulnerable to other serious diseases that can be avoided. These spread quickly when children do not get their shots, leading to outbreaks.

Medical practices are implementing safety precautions to keep everyone safe from COVID-19. Contact your health care provider now to make plans for getting your child vaccinated. Your child will still need the required vaccines for the upcoming school year, so don’t delay getting your vaccines. For children in kindergarten through twelfth grade to attend school in Florida, up-to-date status must be provided for the following vaccines:

  • Diphtheria-tetanus-acellular pertussis (DTaP)
  • Hepatitis B (Hep B)
  • Polio (IPV)
  • Measles-mumps-rubella (MMR)
  • Varicella (chickenpox)

In addition to these, students entering the seventh grade must complete a Tdap (tetanus-diphtheria- acellular pertussis) vaccine.

Vaccines are safe and effective. They save lives by preventing disease. It is best to get vaccinated as soon as possible to avoid the back-to-school rush. Additionally, while there is not yet a vaccine for COVID-19, staying up to date with other vaccines is the best way to protect your child from other serious illnesses.

For more comprehensive information on immunizations and to access a provider locator tool, visit . Have a safe and healthy school year!

#PowerToProtect, #GettheVaxFacts, #VaxFacts, #WhyIProtect, #StrongInsideStrongOutside
Don't Let French Fries Be Your Kids Most Commonly Eaten Vegetable
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September is both “Whole Grains and Fruits” and “Veggies: More Matters” month. What do these have in common? Both promote a healthy diet and help prevent childhood obesity.

According to the 2017-2018 National Survey of Children’s Health, Florida ranked as 8 th in the nation for rates of obesity among children ages 10-17. Childhood obesity is actually linked to health risks in youth and ongoing obesity in adulthood. A 2018 Journal of Nutrition study noted that 27% of children do not eat a single serving of vegetables on a given day, and for children who did eat vegetables, the most common was French fries!

As adults, the first thing we can do to teach kids healthy eating habits lead by example. If kids see us making healthy choices, they are more likely to as well.

  • Start with meal planning. Offer healthy alternatives to their favorite dishes, such as sweet potatoes over white potatoes, whole wheat pasta instead of semolina pasta, and whole grain vs. sugary cereals.
  • Have a picky eater? Try substituting half the portion.
  • Snack time suggestions include whole grain crackers with cheese or lightly salted popcorn rather than chips and cookies.
  • Like to bake? To add fiber and nutrients, swap grain flour and add dried fruits to those cookies.
  • Keep sliced apples and celery with peanut butter close too.

We know that fresh fruits and vegetables can cost more, so look for local community gardens and farmer’s markets. You might just find your new favorite fruit or vegetable there!

What to Expect at Your Child's Next Dental Visit
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Have you scheduled a dental appointment for your child lately? Emergencies never happen at a good time. They happen on weekends, before you leave for vacation, or during the state-wide shut down from COVID-19. It’s important to visit the dentist every six months for routine care so they can catch issues when they’re small, handle them when it’s convenient for you, and before they become emergencies!

Dental offices have always been proactive about preventing the spread of infections, but you’ll see changes post-coronavirus. Offices are taking proper measures and following American Dental Association (ADA) and Center for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines to ensure staff and patients stay well.

Additional measures may include:

  • Filling out a screening form about your child’s health status
  • Temperature checks
  • Requesting limited family members accompany your child during the appointment
  • Seeing fewer people in the lobby- some offices may ask you to wait in your car and will call when they’re ready
  • Removal of items in the lobby such as toys or reading materials to prevent transmission through high touch surfaces
  • Hand sanitizer placed around the office for all to use and ensure surfaces are cleaned regularly
  • Dental staff members wearing additional personal protective equipment (PPE) as appropriate, such as N95 masks and face shields.

If you have any questions or concerns before your child’s scheduled appointment, contact your child’s dental office. The office staff will be happy to help and look forward to welcoming you back!
August is National Immunization Awareness Month
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Some vaccines protect your child for life; others require them to get a shot every year. It is important to see your child’s doctor regularly to make sure they are up to date on vaccines. More than one dose may be required to build and boost immunity.

Health experts recommend different shots depending on your child’s age and health. Some of the most common vaccines are listed below.

Chickenpox / Shingles Vaccine: If your child has had chickenpox before, they could get shingles as an adult; each is a separate vaccine

Flu Vaccine: Reduces your risk of getting the flu and spreading it to others

HPV Vaccine: Protects against the virus that causes cervical cancer

MMR Vaccine: Knocks out measles, mumps and rubella with one shot

Pneumococcal Vaccine: Guards against pneumonia and ear infections

Td/Tdap Vaccine: Protects against Tetanus (lockjaw), diphtheria and whooping cough

Talk to your child’s doctor. Call your child’s doctor to see what shots may be due and how to get them.

 Sources: Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, " Vaccines and Immunizations"
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