JACKSONVILLE, Fla – Making sure you stay healthy during the first few weeks of school can be a challenge. Students that might have been sheltered more at home in the summer are back getting exposed to germs in the classroom. When it comes down to it keeping the kids healthy during the school year it could boil down to a simple doctor's visit and a conversation before they get sick.
Sirene Vincent has three kids who have had three broken arms in the last couple of years. Vincent can't miss her kid's yearly doctor's appointment. She has two in high school and one in elementary school and there's always a possibility that one will be sick or injured.
That's one reason why other parents came to Duval County's Health Fair before the first day of school. It's to educate parents about their kid's treatment options. Heather Lowe just moved to town and wants to make sure her kids have a healthy year.
"Free physicals for people who can't afford it and I don't have health insurance. We just recently moved here so it's hard to try to get everything figured out and all that stuff," says Lowe.
Dr. Shalaka Ghate with Memorial Hospital says it starts with a physical.
"I do recommend every child should have a physical once a year so that they can be up to date with their vaccines and we can also have a general history about the entire year. We can talk about prevention of certain illnesses and keep them healthy all throughout the year," says Ghate.
Dr. Ghate says it's more than just about the check up it's also about the conversation. She says that's why seeing the same physician each year is so important. Students can get answers to questions that they might not ask any one else but the doctor.
"We try to talk to them about several topics like we talk to them about birth control, drugs, avoiding alcohol, different things, pregnancies, even birth control. So a lot of things are addressed during the physicals," says Ghate.
Ghate says you might want to write down questions before the appointment and also allow your child to talk privately with the doctor if they ask. Also, parents of students in pre-K, kindergarten and 7th grade need to make sure the kids have up to date immunizations and the paper work to prove it.