An apple a day keeps the doctor away !


‘An apple a day keeps the doctor away!’ or so I have heard it tell. Is that old saying really true? Will a  daily portion of fruit really keep me healthy? Many people still believe so. We do know that a healthy balanced diet, regular exercise, early bedtime and a jolly good nights sleep provide the very best health insurance.

I am the world’s most impatient patient! I have no time to be ill these days. When I was a little girl my mum’s cure for any kind of ailment was a cuddle, boiled egg and soldiers and an early bedtime. If we were well enough to watch the TV we were well enough to go to school. To be honest TV was never switched on in our house until the evening anyway and day time viewing was rarely tolerated!

Those were the rules and I have grown to adopt that same attitude to managing my own health as an adult and that of my children too. Luckily they were very healthy and suffered little more than chicken pox and the odd cold. I can count the days that the boys missed school on the fingers of one hand.

Some people make being ill into an occupation. Someone close to me, who will remain nameless, never ever has a cold- it is always flu. Stomach ache is consequently appendicitis and his high temperature more than likely the plague! Do you know anyone like that?

We recognise that most children get lots of minor illnesses when they first begin school. Over the initial few months they gradually build up immunity. Chickenpox parties are the new thing or so I am told, children who catch this annoying virus are rarely very poorly for long – but catch it as an adult and you could be laid low for weeks!

We need to teach our children to manage their health from a very early age and so eating well, keeping clean and washing hands regularly after using the loo is probably the most helpful thing you can impart to your toddler. Using a tissue when we cough or sneeze and disposing of it with care comes a close second!

All parents should  register at the doctors and ensure that childhood immunisations are taken up before school age. This helps to protect children form some very nasty illnesses which can still cause major health concerns here in the UK. Measles and whooping cough spring to mind as two diseases that should be consigned to the past, and would be if everyone vaccinated their kids.

Supervising a child during tooth brushing will also save an awful lot of toothache in the years ahead. I recently heard some advice from a dentist on the radio who said that parents should supervise the brushing of teeth up until the age of 14!  The recommended two minutes brushing time is very hard to estimate so there are great music aps available to make this regime a fun activity for youngsters. Children should certainly visit the dentist for a check up every six months – when did you last go?

I wore glasses all day from the age of 2 until I was 16 and still need them for close work to this day. How healthy are your child’s eyes? If your child has glasses you can ask your optician for two pairs so that one can be kept at school. There is nothing more frustrating than not being able to see clearly I can tell you!

More and more children have childhood asthma. This is a worrying condition and needs to be taken very seriously but it can be well managed and we have a number of youngsters who use their blue and brown inhalers regularly in school to stay well. Children who have asthma are at greater risk of becoming unwell during the flu season. For this reason we are participating in the primary school flu immunisation programme.

This local initiative is ensuring that all young children in Y1 and Y2 are offered the opportunity to be immunised at school. Our session is on the 10th November from 9am and parents will be invited to sign a consent form very soon.

A happy child with a healthy body- I know that’s what all parents want for their children. If we can encourage all our families to participate in these simple health initiatives one happy result will be that attendance at school improves too!

Children who are sick, have upset tummies and need the loo frequently really do need to be at home- because those kind of bugs spread like wildfire amongst small children. In fact we ask that they stay home for 48 hours to rest, recover and keep everyone safe from catching it. But come on, one sniff does not mean a day in bed or a week off school!  A runny nose can be accommodated – we do have tissues here ! A headache might just need an early night and a dose of ‘Calpol’.

If you can gently encourage a child to come to school despite being a bit under the weather you are setting good habits for life. And remember, if your child is too poorly when they are here with us, we will take special care and call you so that you can come and take them home.

Anyone want an apple?


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