Local doctor shares back-to-school health tips

11:31 PM, Aug 9, 2011   |    comments
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Brooklyn Center, Minn. --  It's the kind of doctor to patient question that's being asked at all sorts of clinics this time of year. "What grade are you going into," questioned Dr. Andy Rzepka of Park Nicollet Clinics. "Are you going into Kindergarten?"

With the start of school just around the corner, it's that time again for checkups and immunizations.

"The biggest problem now is that some of the diseases are so rare that people think what are the odds of getting that disease so I don't need to get a shot," explained Rzepka. "It's a crap shoot you can still end up getting the disease even though it's very rare."

While doctors recommend the latest round of shots, that's only part of the medical picture.
Dr. Rzepka evaluates everything from sleep to bathroom habits with his clients.
Sleep, he said is key, especially this time of year as now is the time to begin preparing for school wake up times. He recommends that children go to bed earlier each night so that by the time school starts they'll be prepared for that first day.

"Especially the oldest teenagers, it's the biggest thing in the world. We throw our schedules so far off in the summer time," explained Dr. Rzepka.

Children's mealtimes also have a tendency to take a break in the summer and while it's good to start with a healthy breakfast, studies now show if you eat well rounded meals and healthy snacks throughout the day kids will be okay.

"Our grandmother's told us breakfast is the most important meal of the day. It actually turns out it's not as big as you would think," Dr. Rzepka said.

One other thing parents can do is keep kids active and entertained without having them sit in front of a screen. No matter the type of screen, the time should be limited to a couple hours a day maximum.  Bottom line, if kids slowed down over the summer now's the time to get them ready to go again.

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