Start School in Good Health

With the return to school comes the return of germs and children running a higher risk of getting sick. Find out how to keep your child’s mind and body healthy this school year in Dongguan.

You’ll find eager parents raiding shopping centers and bookstores along with their slouching children from late August to early September. It’s not hard to figure out they are getting prepared for the return to school. You can see the excitement on their faces—the parents’ faces that is.

Kids tend to spend too much time during the carefree months of summer staying up late, playing on their iPads or smartphones and eating junk food. The academic decline of their child during summer is not the only thing that parents worry about. The physical decline is an equally serious problem.

According the Dongguan Education Bureau this year there are an estimated 1.68 million students in Dongguan, among which 800,000 are enrolled in primary school. A study found that 96.5 percent of children between two and ten-years-old played with smartphones or iPads and 75.8 percent played with them daily in Dongguan.

Keep an eye on it
It is almost impossible to stay away from electronics even if your children seldom play with them. Computers or tablets are often needed for school projects. Staring at a screen can also trigger serious eye problems such as short or far-sightedness, astigmatism, lazy eye condition and eye strain.

“You’ve been staring at the screen for too long,” this song is too familiar with children and telling them to get off their phone only for your nagging to prove inefficient. A specialist from Dongguan Aier Eye Hospital recommended a small, handy device, which can rid you of this tedious job, called Cloud Clip. You can easily fit it on your glasses, and it will monitor the reading distance, angles, duration, light intensity and outdoor exposure to the sunlight with a smart automatic reminders to the user. You can monitor all the data and focus on improvement. A desktop alternative used for indoors is also available.

However, if you see your kids continuously rubbing or squinting their eyes, it is recommended to take them to see an ophthalmologist for a thorough check-up.

A weak start
At the beginning of the new school year in Dongguan hospitals, you can see swarms of anxious parents and sick kids, some of whom may be faking it to try to evade school. However, irregular bedtime, meals and no exercise during the summer holiday can contribute to a weakened immune system and sickness.

As the late summer climate changes, plants release a wide variety of substances into the air that can cause allergic reactions. Dr. Xiaohao Ye from YYL hospital suggests a skin prick test that identifies common allergens, either airborne or foodborne, such as dust mites, animal hair, pollen, milk, bean products and seafood. The skin prick test is almost painless so even young children can have it without crying. You only need to wait for about 20 minutes before you get a result, while a blood serum allergy test can take days. If your kids or you suffer a chronic cough, repeating dermatitis or rhinitis, an allergy test can help you avoid the stimuli.

You’ve been staring at the screen for too long,” this song is too familiar

Safe and ready
Vaccinations are another preventative measure, especially if your kids are new to kindergarten or primary school. Earlier this year there was an outbreak of measles in the U.S. and some reports of smaller outbreaks in Hong Kong and Shenzhen. This may have worried many people in Dongguan. Children can get vaccinated for MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) at Dongguan’s Epidemic Prevention Center free of charge (adults pay around 100 RMB per shot). According to the Municipal Epidemic Prevention Department, only a few measles patients have been reported so far and it is not likely to have an outbreak in Dongguan. But better safe than sorry, right?

While you should be aware of these issues, don’t let them ruin the Mid-Autumn Day or the National Holiday. A reasonable amount of relaxation, fun and entertainment can go a long way to ease the stress of the upcoming academic year.