Is your child starting school and are you wondering what vaccinations they face during their time there? Well, when kids start school, they get many of these life-saving vaccinations under the School Immunisation Programme. Between the ages of four to five, they receive a four-in-one vaccination (diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough and polio), plus MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) vaccine. The injections may be administered by a GP or in school.
Between the ages of 11 and 14 years, a Tdap (tetanus and low-dose diphtheria) booster is administered, a meningococcal ACWY booster and the HPV (human papillomavirus) vaccine (two doses, all given in school).
For more information, talk to your GP, public health nurse or local health office or see the HSE’s National Immunisation office website: https://www.hse.ie/eng/health/immunisation/ for fact sheets about individual vaccinations.
HPV vaccine for boys and girls
HPV infection can cause many types of cancer in males and females and also genital warts. Vaccination helps control the spread of infection. The HSE school vaccination teams visit schools twice in students’ first year of secondary school, usually at the end of September (HPV 1 and Tdap) and in March (HPV 2 and MenACWY vaccine). Boys and girls get four injections in total, two at each visit with one vaccine being given in each arm.
Strong links between education and health have been shown by the Institute of Public Health in Ireland’s study Health Impacts of Education: a review.
The evidence of this review shows that greater levels of education can lead to:
The power of friendship
Turn2Me, the national mental health charity, lists six ways having close friends can benefit our mental health:
Turn2Me offers counselling to adults and teenagers aged 12 and up, as well as group support services. See www.turn2me.ie for further information.
When can your child return to school?
* While there is no need to stay out with illnesses, the school or childcare provider should be informed. Source: The HSE’s Management of Infectious Diseases in Schools guidance document.
Establish a sleep routine
Breakfast is a winner
Pupils who take time to eat a healthy breakfast are more alert in school than those who don’t, research has shown. Also, healthy foods combined with sufficient rest will help children’s bodies fight off infections.
A nutritious lunch is an important part of the school day too. Safefood Ireland has lots of healthy lunch ideas. See https://www.safefood.net/Healthy-Eating/Family-health/Healthy-lunch-ideas
Steer clear of fizz
Choosing healthy drinks like water and milk for your children has real benefits and will help improve mood, aid digestion, prevent fatigue and aid brain function. Fizzy and sports drinks are often full of sugar and caffeine. Excess caffeine can raise blood pressure, increase heart rates, interfere with sleep and cause irritability and nervousness.
Having the chats
Make time to talk with your children about what they think and feel about going back to school, their hopes, fears and worries. Being calm will reassure your child.
Managing your child’s anxiety
When should I keep my child home from school or childcare? If your child has symptoms of a cold or flu it’s really important you test them for COVID-19. Even if the test is negative, continue to test them in the days afterwards if they remain unwell.
The HSE has the following advice:
Keep your child at home if they:
When it’s OK to send your child to school or childcare?
It is usually OK to send your child to school or childcare if they:
Many children, parents and teachers live with underlying conditions, which mean they remain very vulnerable to Covid. This is particularly true if they are immune compromised as vaccines are far less effective in this group. Therefore, it’s important to test yourself and your children regularly if you display any symptoms and to keep wearing your mask in healthcare settings, including pharmacies, public transport and in grocery stores so that everyone can safely get out and about.
Lactation consultant Katie Mugan of NursingMama.ie has now launched an on-demand, online “Preparing for Breastfeeding & Beyond” course.
It’s the first of its kind to be launched in Ireland, she says. Parents can take the course at their own pace and from the comfort of their own home. It includes useful videos and tips.
A “Weaning from Breastfeeding” course is also available, as well as the course. See www.nursingmama.ie
A study by researchers at University of Limerick has shown that the chronic stress of being a carer can have a damaging effect on the health of caregivers.
The research team, led by Professor Stephen Gallagher of UL, found that caregivers who were initially healthy displayed a 33% greater risk of illness or disability just eight years later.