How To Keep Your Children Healthy This New School Year

back to school

A new school year is here again with its feeling of excitement and anxiety. While children are excited to get back to school and catch up with old friends, the beginning of a school year can often mean exposure to various germs which can easily spread among students and teachers. Early mornings and some tedious class work can also take its toll on kids. Here are some tips to help children stay healthy throughout the school year:

Fighting Colds: With Flu season around the corner, cold and flu germs are bound to spread quickly. Every student should have a mini First Aid kit containing cold and flu survival essentials- vapour rub, throat lozenges or spray, analgesics to reduce pain and fever, vitamin C and thermometer. It is important to teach children to always cover their mouth when they cough or sneeze to avoid spreading germs to other children. Parents should also emphasize the importance of hand washing with soap and water or the use of a hand sanitizer. Your local HealthPlus pharmacist is always available to give specific advice on remedies to manage any symptoms your child might experience.

Asthma Management: Looking after your child’s asthma doesn’t have to be complicated. Simply pop into your local HealthPlus Pharmacy and Ask Your HealthPlus Pharmacist about the Asthma Support Service. We can teach your child how to use their inhalers, perfect their technique as well as discuss major triggers for asthma. Since your child will be away at school most of the time, it is necessary to discuss their usual symptoms with the classroom teacher and school nurse. Our trained Pharmacists can help you with this vital information and also support in managing their medicines.

Tackling Head Lice: Lice are wingless insects that hold on to the hair and feed from the blood in the scalp. Research has shown that one in three children will get head lice in the school year. Kids play a lot and this contributes to the easy spread among them. It is imperative to educate the kids on simple ways to avoid this spread such as not sharing things that touch the hair (comb, towels), avoiding activities that may involve head to head contact with other children or classmates and separating their personal belongings. If your child however gets head lice, our well trained pharmacists are available to choose effective products for you and talk you through ways to use them correctly to achieve desired results.

Boosting Immunity: The immune system is the body’s defense mechanism in preventing diseases and other invaders. The school season exposes children more to an array of germs, hence, the importance of giving their immune system a boost. The most important way to boost the immune system is through diet; by including a variety of fruits and vegetables to their diet. For picky eaters however, there are tons of multivitamin supplements that help bridge the diet gap. You can walk into the nearest HealthPlus Pharmacy, to get the best child-friendly multivitamins ranging from gummies to chew-able tablets to liquid supplements for your child and the whole family.

Preventing Malaria: Nigeria being a malaria endemic country puts children at risk of being infected with the disease. However, preventive measures can be effective in preventing associated mortality or morbidity. Mosquitoes breed in water hence it is important to avoid stagnant water around the house and school. The use of anti-malarials, mosquito repellents and mosquito nets cannot be overemphasized. Our stores have a range of these products and the Pharmacists are always willing to advice on the best approach.

Personal Care: Good personal hygiene is the first step to good health. Habits such as taking your bath daily, brushing and flossing your teeth, washing your hands with soap and water or appropriate use of sanitizers can help keep germs at bay. During this school year, children need to take proper care of themselves in order to stay healthy. Fortunately, your local HealthPlus Pharmacy stocks a wide range of personal care products, so pop in to see your Pharmacist who can help you select best choice products for your children.

World Cancer Day 2017

Fight Cancer

Cancer is a result of abnormal changes which often start in a single cell. These changes form a tumor and may invade cells around, when this tumor becomes invasive, it is referred to as malignant. Cancer can form almost anywhere in the body and some examples of common cancers are; thyroid cancer, lung cancer, kidney cancer and non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

The Theme of World Cancer Day for the years 2016-2018 is to identify ways in which we can support each other in reducing the global cancer burden. Every single one of us is in a position to make an impact on the occurrence and effect of Cancer on individuals, families, and communities. The primary objective of World Cancer Day, February, 4th 2017 is to get as many conversations started around Cancer as possible.

Key Facts

Cancer is one of the leading causes of morbidity and mortality worldwide, with approximately 14 million new cases and 8.2 million cancer-related deaths in 2012.
Among men, the 5 most common sites of cancer diagnosed in 2012 were lung, prostate, colorectum, stomach, and liver cancer.
Among women, the 5 most common sites diagnosed were breast, colorectum, lung, cervix, and stomach cancer.
More than 60% of world’s total new annual cases occur in Africa, Asia and Central and South America. These regions account for 70% of the world’s cancer deaths.
Research has shown that annual cancer cases will rise from 14 million in 2012 to 22 within the next 2 decades.
Cancer causing viral infections such as HBV/HCV and HPV are responsible for up to 20% of cancer deaths in low- and middle-income countries.

Risk factors

The risk factors below could be present in any combination. One, some or all could be contributing factors in different individuals;

Signs & Symptoms

The signs and symptoms can be present in any combination. It is also important to note that the presence of any of these do not necessarily mean it is related to cancer. If any of these signs and symptoms are experienced, it is important to seek prompt medical advice;

Treatment

Treatment will vary depending on the type, location, and severity of cancer. Common treatment options include surgery, hormone therapy, chemotherapy or radiation. Unfortunately, not all cancers can be treated.

We Can:

Prevent cancerPrevent cancerPrevent cancer – Education is essential in cancer prevention, particularly on the risk factors. The largest risk factor is smoking, leading to about 5 million deaths from cancer a year. Individuals also need to be aware that alcohol consumption and obesity lead to about a third of common cancers. In the 21st century, there is higher exposure to cancer risk factors such as tobacco, unhealthy diet options and a lack of exercise and active decisions need to be made to reduce these manageable risks. For example, a healthy and balanced diet, including five fruit and vegetables a day whilst cutting out processed foods, drinking two liters of water a day and taking part in at least 45 minutes of medium intensity exercise a day can greatly reduce your risks (by a third).

create health cities

Create healthy cities – With 66% of the world’s population projected to live in urban areas by 2050, the quality of the urban environment will play an increasingly important role in public health. Nigerians are encouraged to petition to your national government to adopt policies that encourage and improve a healthy environment. For example, creating smoke-free public spaces, exercise friendly public routes/ spaces and sanitary environments.


Challenge perceptions
– In Nigeria, Cancer, particularly end-stage, is often stigmatized. This may prevent people from seeking help and/or getting the help they need. Those affected may feel isolated or depressed as a result. We are responsible for challenging stigmas and perceptions by educating everyone to empower those affected with cancer to access quality help and information on prevention and care.

I Can:
Make healthy lifestyle choices – Around one-third of cancer deaths are due to the 5 leading behavioral and dietary risks: high body mass index, low fruit and vegetable intake, lack of physical activity, tobacco use and alcohol use. These include; avoiding tobacco (primary or secondary), keeping physically active, reducing processed foods, maintaining a healthy body mass index and protecting the skin with sunscreen appropriate to your skin tone. Choose healthily!

Early cancer detectionUnderstand that early detection saves lives – An awareness of the typical signs and symptoms is important and potentially life-saving in the diagnosis and treatment of cancer. If any of the signs and symptoms are observed, it is important to seek prompt medical advice. Attending screening programs is important as it allows for early detection of cancerous growths thus potentially improving prognosis and the quality of life of those affected. Prevent earlier, detect earlier!

Cancer supportAsk for support – Encouraging those dealing with the impact of Cancer (social, psychological or physical) to maintain a social support group where they can receive support will have a positive impact on their wellbeing. Lakeshore Cancer Center (private), Breast Cancer Association of Nigeria and the Nigerian Cancer Society are examples of organizations with links to supporting groups for those affected by cancer in Nigeria.

For further information, follow links below;

WorldCancerDay.org & World Health Organization