Five essential tips for a healthy back-to-school season

Your role is key to keeping your children healthy throughout the school year, from avoiding head lice to backaches and more.

You've already bought the uniform and new shoes, you've invested in new books and school supplies, but have you covered the most important part of going back to school, your children's health?

Prevents lice

One in three children will catch head lice at some time during the school year. They are transmitted by physical contact and children often play with their heads close together.

Some people mistakenly call lice "nits", since they are nothing more than eggs.

Getting head lice has nothing to do with having a dirty head or dirty hair - lice have no preference for dirty or clean hair, they just try to get to the scalp easily, so short hair makes your child more vulnerable.

With long hair, putting it up in a ponytail or bun minimizes the risk of infection, but that lice prefer long hair is a myth.

Lice can be treated with certain chemical lotions, although over time they have become resistant to certain types of these lotions.

A more natural alternative is to comb your child's wet hair with conditioner and a special fine-toothed comb. This will remove both lice and nits.

Add a little tea tree oil to the conditioner; studies show that it is more than 90 percent effective compared to chemical treatments.

Bruises and blisters

You can't stop your kids from getting hurt at recess, but you can help them recover faster.

Herbalists often recommend arnica for bumps and bruises - there is evidence that it accelerates the healing process - while applying vitamin E ointment helps the skin, reducing the risk of scarring.

Have you come home from school with a blister from new shoes? Poking or popping it is not a good idea, as there is a risk of infection. Apply some aloe vera gel that will soothe the irritation, as it is a natural anti-inflammatory.

Strengthens your immune system

School-aged children catch an average of seven to ten colds during the year, so it makes sense to give their immune systems a boost.

A specific multivitamin complex for children can fill any "gaps" in their diet.

The Ministry of Health recommends that all children from 6 months to 5 years old consume a supplement containing vitamins A, C and D, so taking it with breakfast will help strengthen their immune system, especially to cope with the winter months.

Avoid back pain

About 25 percent of school-age children suffer from back pain, mainly caused by heavy backpacks. Obviously, the more homework they have, the heavier the backpack, so the way it is carried can make a difference.

Physiotherapists advise that the weight should be distributed on both shoulders, not just one. Carrying the backpack on only one shoulder causes pressure on the spine.

And of course, check if they really need everything they carry in their backpacks - can't you leave something at school?

Improves sleep

Studies show that today there is a real epidemic of poor sleep quality caused by electronic devices.

These studies stipulate that children who use cell phones, tablets or computers before sleep not only go to sleep later, but also have difficulty falling asleep, sleep fewer hours, and are much more tired during the day.

Less sleep is associated with an increased risk of certain diseases during adolescence, such as flu or indigestion, so you should encourage your children to leave video games or social networks a few hours before bedtime. And cell phones under the sheets are totally forbidden!