Back to school, back to health

Portland parents can prep for a successful school year by keeping kids healthy

One of the sure signs that summer is coming to a close in Portland is the annual back-to-school rush. Students, parents and teachers are all working diligently to ensure that supplies are stocked, new clothes are clean and the restless summer minds are ready to focus.

Keeping the children of the metro area healthy is a top priority for the doctors and nurses at The Portland Clinic, but “healthy” is more than making sure your child avoids the first dreaded cold epidemic of the year. There are multiple steps parents/guardians can take to ensure their child has a healthy, safe and, most importantly, educational academic year:

Eat right

Nutrition is one of the most important aspects of learning. Starting the day off with a balanced meal for your school-bound children will help them concentrate in class and keep their metabolism in line throughout the day. Packing a lunch or educating your kids on proper nutrition in the cafeteria will help ensure their food choices for lunch or a midday snack are smart. Poor nutrition may not only affect the concentration of a child in school, but could also leave them vulnerable to infections with a weakened immune system.

Stay hydrated

The issue of contaminated water in some Portland-area schools has been widely discussed in recent months. While the issue is being addressed, parents should talk with their administrators about the situation at their school and make sure their child has a clean source of water to stay hydrated throughout the day.


Speak with your physician about the vaccination protocol prescribed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). It is important to fully understand the basic facts about vaccines and why they are so important, but also what your school’s policies are regarding vaccines and ensure your child is up to date.

Emergency contact

Ensure your child’s emergency contact information on file with the school is up-to-date and accurate. Whether you are in a new job, have changed addresses or discovered a new allergy, the school must be made aware, in case of emergency. Medication records should also be updated with the school nurse.

Vision check

Schedule an eye exam to track the health of your student’s eyes and make certain their prescription is up-to-date. Vision problems can greatly delay learning, and some children may be embarrassed to tell you they are having a difficult time reading books or seeing the classroom board.

Dress for success

Clothing should be properly sized when coming back to school. Check your child’s footwear to look for signs of wear that could affect their movement. Additionally, clothing should not be too tight or constricting. A comfortable student is also less distracted.

Heading back to school is an exciting time for both parents and students. If you have questions about nutrition or any other back-to-school related health issues, now is the time to have a chat with your doctor. Call us at 503-223-3113 for an appointment.