Children’s Health: Keeping Your Kids Healthy this Summer

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Compiled By Samantha Corpus

Free Summer Meals
Courtesy of College Station ISD

This summer, College Station ISD will be serving free meals to children, and adults can purchase one for $3.50. No documentation is necessary to receive a meal, simply show up. Lincoln Center will be serving lunch Monday through Friday, July 10 to Aug. 4 from 11:30am to 12:30pm.

Mosquito Protection
Courtesy of Texas A&M AgriLife Extension

According to Texas A&M AgriLife Extension, to repel mosquitos, apply repellent to clothing and exposed skin, not underneath clothing; do not spray directly into your face or near eyes or mouth; spray your hands with repellent and rub it on your face to apply; and make sure to apply the repellent outdoors. For safety, do not allow small children to handle repellents, wash your hands after applying before you eat, smoke, or use the restroom, and keep the repellent near the door to remind you to apply every time you go outside for an extended period. The CDC recommends using products registered with the Environmental Protection Agency and that contain DEET, Picaridin, IR3535, and/or oil of lemon eucalyptus.

Mosquitos spread diseases like Zika virus, dengue, and chikungunya, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prvention. If you’re traveling, remember to pack EPA registered repellent, cover up with long-sleeved shirts and long pants, and stay in air conditioned places that have screens on windows and doors. Do not use insect repellent on babies younger than 2 months of age; instead cover the crib, stroller, and baby carrier with mosquito netting.

In December, the CDC issued guidance for people living in or traveling to Brownsville because of reported cases of the mosquito-borne Zika virus in the area. Women who are pregnant should consider postponing travel to Brownsville. Men and women who live or travel to Brownsville should consistently and correctly use condoms every time they have sex to prevent Zika virus infections. Pregnant women who have traveled to or had sex without a condom with someone who lives in or traveled to Brownsville should be tested for the virus according to the CDC.

Vaccines 
Courtesy of the Texas Medical Association

Throat cancer is quickly becoming the most common cancer diagnosed in people who have contracted the human papillomavirus. Health experts recommend the HPV vaccine for preteen boys and girls, aged 11 and 12 years, but youths can receive it as early as age 9. Adults can get the shots until age 26, but for those over 15, the Centers for Disease Control recommends three shots for full protection.

Dental Services
Courtesy of Blinn Dental Hygiene Center

Each year Blinn Dental Hygiene Center provides free dental care to local children in need at their “Give Kids a Smile” event. Besides the annual event, the Blinn Dental Hygiene Program offers year-round discounted cleanings and screenings for the general public at the Blinn Dental Hygiene Center. Sessions are $20 per person and include dental cleanings, x-rays, fluoride, oral cancer inspections, and sealants.

 

Swimmer’s Ear
Courtesy of Texas A&M University Health Science Center

Swimmer’s ear is an infection of the outer ear canal, often caused by water remaining in the ear after swimming that allows an environment for bacteria to grow. To avoid swimmer’s ear you can use ear plugs while swimming to prevent water from getting into the ears, purchase an over-the-counter solution to help rinse out everything in the ear and break up blockage, or use a low setting on a hair dryer to dry your ears after swimming. Primary care physicians can diagnose the infection, which can easily be treated with ear drops containing antibiotics.

Photo Courtesy of Texas A&M College of Dentistry

Tongue Tied
Courtesy of Texas A&M University Health Science Center

Ankyloglossia is a common condition that restricts the tongue’s range of motion because of excess fibrous tissue, a thick ligament that holds the tongue down. The condition doesn’t tend to have many complications and sometimes does not present with symptoms. The symptoms, if present, would be the child finding it difficult to maneuver their tongue out of their mouth or a baby having trouble breastfeeding. There are two types of simple surgical procedures that can correct ankyloglossia and can be done right after birth or at a later time if it does not resolve on its own.