Dangers of e-cigarettes, vaping and JUULs
It’s time to start stocking up on pens, pencils, notebooks, maybe a new lunch box, new sports gear; all the back-to-school supplies you can think of.
But what about your kids’ health?
They will likely spend about 35 hours a week at school. You can get them ready for a healthy year with guidelines from our experts.
Your kids are what they eat
Fruits, vegetables, nuts and whole grains will give your child’s body the best chance to fight off those pesky back-to-school germs.
Try to pack at least two-thirds of your child’s lunchbox with plant-based foods. Then add lean protein like chicken, fish or a plant-based protein.
Stay away from foods that are linked to diseases like cancer. That includes lunch meats like salami, pastrami, ham and even lean meats like deli turkey.
And avoid sugary drinks, especially soda and juice.
For snacks, say no to calorie-packed foods like chips and cookies. They can be high in salt and additives.
Try a small piece of fruit, carrots or celery, or whole-grain crackers. Then add peanut butter, hummus, Greek yogurt or an ounce of cheese.
Stay safe in the sun
One or more sunburns can double your child’s lifetime risk for melanoma, the most dangerous form of skin cancer. And the sun’s damaging UV rays pose a risk all year round, even if it’s cloudy or cold.
Talk to your kids about how to protect their skin and teach them sun safety habits. The best protection is staying out of the sun between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
But if your kids must be in the sun, follow these guidelines:
UV protective clothes often offer good protection. Dressing children in shirts with sleeves, pants or knee length shorts, shirts or dresses can be easier than sunscreen. Socks and closed toed shoes or sneakers protect better than sandals.
Apply sunscreen on areas of your child’s body that are not covered before they go to school. Pick a broad spectrum SPF30 brand that your child will want to wear every day.
Pack sunscreen in their backpack so they can reapply later. For preschoolers, talk with schools about having sunscreen on hand in the classroom.
The Food and Drug Administration considers sunscreen to be safe. But if you are concerned about chemicals, consider simple mineral sunscreens that contain zinc or titanium oxide.
Help kids say no to e-cigarettes and other tobacco products
If your child is in middle school or high school, the chances of them coming into contact with e-cigarettes is high.
Talk to them about how to resist peer pressure and say to no all tobacco products. Education is the best defense.
An actor smoking or using an e-cigarette on TV can be a good doorway to a conversation about how vaping, smoking and using hookahs can increase their risk of disease.
Children need at least 60 minutes of exercise every day. Check your child’s schedule to make sure they have opportunities to get enough physical activity.
Plan to take your child outdoors to kick a ball or ride a bike if their days are spent mostly at a desk studying.
“Exercise creates mental focus,” says Carol Harrison, MD Anderson senior exercise physiologist. “It’s part of raising a strong, healthy and smart individual.”
If you teach your kids to build exercise into their day, it’s a habit that can last a lifetime. And regular exercise as an adult will reduce their cancer risk.
It’s part of raising a strong, healthy and smart individual.
If your child turns 11 or 12 this year, it’s time to get the HPV vaccine. The vaccine is for boys and girls and protects them from the HPV virus. HPV is linked to six types of cancer.
If your child is older and did not get the shots, you can still catch up. The vaccine is most effective for preteens but is approved for males and females up to age 45.
In women, HPV causes cancers of the cervix, vagina, vulva, anus and head and neck.
In men the virus causes cancers of the penis, anus and head and neck.
If you can teach your kids healthy habits when they are young, they are much more likely to make healthy choices as an adult.