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Tag Archive | "Back to School"

Back-to-school 101 for kids with allergies and asthma


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(BPT) – There are lots of things kids get excited about when they go back to school. From brand new lunch boxes loaded with pudding cups, to shiny 64-packs of crayons and catching up with friends they haven’t seen for awhile, anticipation is in the air.

But if you’re a parent of one of the 28 million children who suffer from allergies, or one of the 7.1 million children who have asthma, sending kids back to school can cause anxious moments.

“Many parents look forward to their child returning to the classroom,” said allergist Janna Tuck, spokesperson for the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI). “But for parents of children with allergies or asthma, school raises questions about conditions that can’t be controlled or monitored. They want to make sure their child is safe, has adequate resources and that systems are in place if they have an asthma or allergy attack.”

By following these suggestions from the ACAAI, you can help ensure your child has a safe, fun start to the school year.

Know their triggers. Students with pets at home can bring pet dander into school. Other common allergens such as pollen and dust will definitely find their way into the classroom. If your child suddenly develops a runny nose, has difficulty breathing or comes home with a rash, it may be related to classroom triggers. Check with your allergist if previously unseen symptoms occur or if existing symptoms worsen.

Make an appointment with an allergist. If you think your child might have allergies or asthma, making an appointment with a board-certified allergist is the first step to accurately developing a game plan. An allergist can determine what’s causing your child’s symptoms, as well as provide guidance to help both of you cope with allergies and asthma. Through prescribing medication and creating treatment plans, your allergist can provide the care that leads to fewer school absences.

Talk to your child about lunch time. Younger children especially might be excited to share food with friends or try new things on the lunch menu. If your child has a food allergy, it’s important they know why they cannot eat certain things or share food. If your child is prescribed an epinephrine auto injector, make sure the staff is trained in how to use it, and knows where your child’s is located.

Meet with the school. This is one of the biggest steps in preparing for the new school year. Your child’s teachers, coaches, school nurse and principal should all be informed about your child’s asthma and/or allergies, and what medications they carry with them. All 50 states have laws allowing children to carry their needed medication. If your child is old enough, teach them how to use their epinephrine auto injector or rescue inhaler. Make sure they understand warning signs and symptoms, what precautions to take and who to talk to if a reaction develops.

Talk with your child’s friends and other parents. Communication is always a good policy when it comes to managing your child’s allergies and asthma. Talking to your child’s friends, or asking their parents to talk to their children about asthma and allergies, adds another layer of support. This is important for social reasons, as the more your child’s friends and classmates understand allergies and asthma, the less chance your child will feel isolated.

It can be a challenge to keep your kids free from allergy and asthma triggers. To help get you started on developing an action plan and find an allergist in your area check out the ACAAI allergist locator tool. The ACAAI website has lots of resources to ensure your child has a safe and enjoyable school year.

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Back-To-School food safety tips for parents and caregivers


 

Food Safety Education Staff

WASHINGTON, August 18, 2016 – Back to school, back to the books, back in the saddle, or back in the car for those of us shuttling students to and from school. The new school year means its back to packing lunches and after school snacks for students, scouts, athletes, dancers, and all the other children who carry these items to and from home. One ‘back’ you do not want to reacquaint children with, however, is foodborne bacteria.

Bacteria that can cause foodborne illness, commonly known as food poisoning, grow rapidly at temperatures between 40 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit. In just two hours, these microorganisms can multiply to dangerous levels. To make sure lunches and snacks are safe for those you pack for, follow the USDA’s four steps to food safety: Clean – Separate – Cook – and Chill.

Packing Tips

  • If the lunch/snack contains perishable food items like luncheon meats, eggs, cheese, or yogurt, make sure to pack it with at least two cold sources.  Harmful bacteria multiply rapidly so perishable food transported without an ice source won’t stay safe long.
  • Frozen juice boxes or water can also be used as freezer packs. Freeze these items overnight and use with at least one other freezer pack.  By lunchtime, the liquids should be thawed and ready to drink.
  • Pack lunches containing perishable food in an insulated lunchbox or soft-sided lunch bag. Perishable food can be unsafe to eat by lunchtime if packed in a paper bag.
  • If packing a hot lunch, like soup, chili or stew, use an insulated container to keep it hot. Fill the container with boiling water, let stand for a few minutes, empty, and then put in the piping hot food. Tell children to keep the insulated container closed until lunchtime to keep the food hot – 140 °F or above.
  • If packing a child’s lunch the night before, parents should leave it in the refrigerator overnight. The meal will stay cold longer because everything will be refrigerator temperature when it is placed in the lunchbox.
  • If you’re responsible for packing snacks for the team, troop, or group, keep perishable foods in a cooler with ice or cold packs until snack time. Pack snacks in individual bags or containers, rather than having children share food from one serving dish.

Storage Tips

  • If possible, a child’s lunch should be stored in a refrigerator or cooler with ice upon arrival. Leave the lid of the lunchbox or bag open in the fridge so that cold air can better circulate and keep the food cold.

Eating and Disposal Tips

  • Pack disposable wipes for washing hands before and after eating.
  • After lunch, discard all leftover food, used food packaging, and paper bags. Do not reuse packaging because it could contaminate other food and cause foodborne illness.

Consumers can learn more about key food safety practices at Foodsafety.gov, by ‘following’ @USDAFoodSafety on Twitter, and by ‘liking’ Facebook.com/FoodSafety.gov. Consumers with questions about food safety, can call the USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline at 1-888-MPHotline (1-888-674-6854) or chat live with a food safety specialist at AskKaren.gov, available from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday, in English or Spanish.

If you have questions about storage times of food or beverages, download USDA’s new FoodKeeper application for Android and iOS devices. By helping users better understand food storage, the FoodKeeper empowers the public to choose storage methods that extend the shelf life of the food and beverages in their home. Better food storage should reduce food waste and reduce the frequency of users preparing and eating products that may be spoiled. The application was recently updated to include food storage information in both Spanish and Portuguese.

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Set the Stage for Success


SCH-Success

Photo courtesy of Getty Images

Tips for a smooth transition back to school

(Family Features)

For parents putting bright-eyed students on the bus for the very first time and for seasoned moms and dads who know the drill inside and out, gearing up for another year of school is a process. The shopping extravaganzas, trips to the doctor for physicals, endless forms and paperwork all culminate in a single moment: the first day back to school.

Often, it’s this first day (or days) that set the tone for the school year to come. Help your child feel prepared and confident to tackle whatever the school year brings with these tips for a successful start.

Plan well-balanced meals:

Summer break brings a lax approach to many aspects of life, and healthy eating is often one of them. However, nutrition plays an important role in overall development and countless studies show correlation between academic performance and good nutrition. As the school year approaches, work at creating healthy menus. If hectic scheduling makes it difficult to get well-balanced meals in lunchboxes and on the dinner table through the week, allocate a portion of the weekend for a family prep session.

Reinstate bedtimes:

Easing back into earlier bedtimes will make things smoother for everyone when the alarms start ringing on early school day mornings. Well before the start of school, gradually back off more time each night – in 15-minute increments, for example – to get kids back in bed early enough to capture at least 10 hours of sleep, the amount recommended for school-aged children and adolescents by the National Institutes of Health.

Get creative to boost enthusiasm:

Part of the fun of heading back to the classroom is a shiny new set of supplies. Build your kids’ excitement by letting them select the tools they’ll use to bring home good grades, like pens and pencils. Despite a keyboard and touchscreen-driven world, sales of color-focused products like felt-tip markers, porous (fine line) pens and colored pencils are on the rise.

In an effort to follow and respond to trends, Zebra Pen continues to introduce products that allow for personal expression, whether in the ink color chosen for notes or the barrel design to complement your kids’ style.

We’re conscious of the influx of technology in the school, but still see the importance of writing instruments in the school environment. There is a great deal of pen or pencil and paper activity in the classroom and we have focused on providing products that meet the needs of teachers and students alike,” said Ken Newman, Director of Marketing at Zebra Pen.

Our Sarasa retractable gel pen, which comes in 14 vibrant colors, boasts one of the fastest drying inks on the market. And for those looking to express style through design, consider a Z-Grip Plus ballpoint pen, featuring our smoothest ballpoint ink and a fashion-friendly barrel design, or perhaps a traditional Z-Grip ballpoint with a floral or animal pattern. For the younger writer whose world of writing is confined mostly to pencil, the Cadoozles line of No. 2 and colored mechanical pencils offers functionality and fun.”

There are options for every stage of a student’s development, whether they are a beginner, intermediate or have progressed toward the end of their academic careers. A complete selection can be found online at ZebraPen.com.

Explore outside of academics:

Developing interests outside the classroom builds confidence and character, teaches discipline and may help reveal hidden passions or talents that translate into future scholarships or career choices. Now is an ideal time to explore the options available in your community and complete necessary registrations as many extra-curricular activities are closely linked to the traditional school calendar.

Follow the paper trail:

The volume of paperwork associated with sending a child to school can be overwhelming. From registration forms and emergency contact sheets to physicals and immunization records, the list goes on and on. Keep on track with a list of all the materials you’re responsible for completing, along with special notes for those that require visits to the doctor’s office or other appointments.

Take a tour:

Especially for new students, but even for experienced kids, spend some time getting familiar with the school before the big day. Seeing the bus drop-off location, classroom, bathrooms, cafeteria and any other major features ahead of time can help soothe jitters and lets you proactively answer worries or questions about how those first days may unfold.

Establish a transition tradition:

Celebrate the end of summer and the fresh start ahead by creating a special family tradition. It may be a final backyard campout for the season or a scrapbooking project that captures memories from the summer and describes goals for the school year. The time together to talk about what lies ahead can help get the family geared up for a successful school year.

Express Personality with Style

SCH-Success-suppliesEncouraging your child to develop his or her own unique personality can be tough with social “rules” and official policies that determine dress code, supplies and more. When you get down to it, though, there are dozens of ways to let kids explore personal expression without breaking any rules or subjecting them to unwanted attention.

Accessories: Even at schools with uniforms or dress codes, there is some latitude when it comes to accessorizing. Dress codes vary, but many allow flexibility in things such as socks, shoes, hair bows and jewelry.

School supplies: Let kids choose their own writing implements as a personal statement of self-expression, which is especially important to middle and high school students. With so many options, it’s easy to bypass the basic bargain selection and choose from an array of new designs and creative features, such as those offered by Zebra Pen.

Personal space: For younger students, the area designated as a student’s own may be limited to a backpack or storage cubby. For older kids, there’s an entire locker to consider. Customizing these personal areas lets kids assert a clear stamp of individuality. Photos, artwork and treasured mementoes bring these personal spaces to life.

 

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Back-to-School tips when you’re on a budget


SCH-Back-to-school-tips-on-budget

(StatePoint) Between new clothes and new school supplies, back-to-school season can put a strain on household budgets.

In 2015, families planned to spend $630 on back-to-school items, according to the National Retail Federation, and this year’s numbers are also expected to be pricey. With a little planning, your family can get the most out of your school shopping budget by taking advantage of sales, comparison shopping, buying in bulk and simply by making sure you don’t buy things you already own.

Here are some smart ways families can reduce costs as students head back to class this fall.

End-of-Season Sales

Take advantage of end-of-season sales to stock up. This concept may not help you this fall, but it’s a great habit to adopt now for long-term savings. You can stock up on summer clothes now and great fall items once the weather gets chillier. Stores will be offering deep discounts and clearance prices on items that eventually will come in handy for next back-to-school season. Remember to take into account that kids grow quickly!

Add it Up

Bigger ticket school supply items can cost you a pretty penny if you don’t comparison shop.

For example, required tools like a high-quality graphing calculator can come with a price tag of $75 or more! Get more for your money with an affordable model, such as Casio’s fx-9750GII, which retails for under $50. It offers useful features like a high resolution screen and compatibility with a personal computer. It is also permitted to be used in such major tests as the ACT and the SAT. More information about calculators can be found at CasioEducation.com.

Take Stock and Buy in Bulk

Don’t buy things you already own, and take advantage of bulk discounts for the stuff you need! Before making your shopping list take stock of what school supplies you already have in your closets — and your child’s backpack — from the last school year. From scissors to folders to unused or partially used notebooks, you may already have many things your kids need for the year ahead.

For those necessities that kids will need all year long — such as tape, paper, pens, pencils, markers and more — take advantage of bulk sales at discount stores and online retailers. Buying more now can save you cash in the months ahead.

Go Green

Brown bags, plastic baggies and plastic silverware are small expenses that add up quickly. Instead, opt for reusable lunch container alternatives and a one-time expense. It’s not only good for the planet, but kids will get on board if you let them pick items that speak to their sense of style. You’ll also save yourself trips to the store!

Don’t let back-to-school make a hefty dent in your wallet. At the store, take advantage of great deals and also consider different ways of eliminating perennial expenses.

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Five organizing tips to help tame back-to-school chaos


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(BPT) – From school supplies and first day outfits, to lunch boxes and carpool schedules, back-to-school stress and to-do lists can seem endless. This time of year, moms and dads are feeling the pressure to get organized, no matter their natural tendency: neat freak, hopelessly messy or anything in between.

“As the summer sun begins to fade, that back to school anxiety creeps in for parents. There is so much to do and so little time,” says Debra Johnson, a Merry Maids home cleaning expert. “We want to make sure that all moms and dads – whether they work full-time, stay at home, are frantically busy or cool and laid back – feel equipped to get back in the school year groove.”

Back-to-school time is the perfect opportunity for parents to shift gears and reorganize. It all comes down to your cleaning personality type on how you handle it. Here are some expert tips for every type:

Neat freak: Messes go against your very nature, and this time of year can put your temperament to the test, not to mention your cleaning skills. Instead of stressing over where to stash the keepsakes your kids will surely come home with this year, plan ahead and create color coded files for each child. Send glue, glitter and other mess-making supplies to school in clear baggies. Stash a stain-removal stick in the backpack of older kids to pre-treat ink stains and make laundry less stressful. Do you ever run out the door without lunches? Fix that by setting a food prep day (Sunday afternoon) where you and the kids pack lunches and place them in a desired area in the refrigerator and pantry. Make it easy to grab and go each morning and keep those hungry moments at bay.

Closet stasher: A closet stasher may look like a neat freak, but don’t be fooled—their messes are hiding in the closets and under the bed. Take time to dig into storage areas and cabinets to create an organized space for the family. Use plastic bins or baskets with labels on the front to divide the games from the books, and create a special shelf where extra pens, paper and other school supplies can be kept handy throughout the year. Kids will appreciate the independence of knowing exactly where to go to get what they need for homework and school projects. And remember, your kiddos might be following in your footsteps so be sure to check under the beds and behind the headboards for any treasures they may be hiding.

Busy bee: When you’re juggling work, homework, after-school activities and home cleaning, some days it’s tough to even find matching socks. While the back-to-school season can heighten the chaos, it’s also a perfect opportunity to take control of the time you have. For example, have the kids put in the laundry while dinner is cooking, or encourage the kids to clean the dishes as you finish preparing dinner. Create a family calendar to keep track of everyone’s schedules, and place a whiteboard by the door to remind you and your kids of important things to take with you before heading out the door. Letting the kids lend a hand will help them feel empowered to do more as they get older.

Summer straggler: As vacation time comes to a screeching halt, a summer straggler usually waits till the last minute to kick back-to-school prep into gear. For you, it’s best to prioritize a to-do list, and check things off one by one. It’s OK not to get to everything right away, but keep making progress until your entire list is complete. Overwhelmed by getting your house in order and tackling that to-do list? Don’t be. Call a professional to help with the deep cleaning, so you can focus on getting the school year off to a great start.

Team player: From preschoolers to high school students, everyone is involved in getting the home ready for the new school year. Have the kids switch it up a little and take on each other’s chores, try something new or take on more responsibility. As kids get older, they are able to take on more challenging roles, from just folding towels to actually doing the laundry, or from setting the table to loading and unloading the dishwasher. Make it fun and keep things fresh by creating a handy helpers box; fill it with slips of paper highlighting various household chores and then let your kids pull out their assignments each week. Rewards are a great way to incentivize the kids to empty the box by the end of the school week.

With the right attitude and approach, you can make back-to-school time less stressful for the whole family. For more expert tips on home cleaning, visit merrymaids.com.

 

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Save on Everything for Back-to-School with these Smart Tips and Tricks


 

(c) HaveZein - Fotolia.com Back-to-school shopping for students of any age can be expensive, but with the right knowledge, there are plenty of ways to save time and money.

(c) HaveZein – Fotolia.com
Back-to-school shopping for students of any age can be expensive, but with the right knowledge, there are plenty of ways to save time and money.

(StatePoint) Whether your kids are school playground-bound or college-bound, the back-to-school season can be an expensive time of year. Families with children in grades K-12 plan to spend an average $673.57 while college students and families with children in college plan to spend an average of $888.71, according to a National Retail Federation 2016 annual survey.

Where are their dollars going? The top five back-to-school supplies searched for are Crayola ColorStudio iMarker, BIC Pencil Xtra, TI 84 graphing calculator, Brita filtration water bottle and Crayola Washable Erase, according to Qmee, an online shopping companion.

So how can you save on these popular items and more when shopping?

“Whether it’s a calculator, backpack or dorm furniture, before making a purchase, it’s important to do your research. Educated shoppers always get the best deals,” says Jonathan Knight, Co-Founder and CEO, Qmee.

Shopping online is the best way to save time and be sure you’re getting a good deal, says Knight, who recommends a few strategies for how parents can get more bang from their back-to-school buck:

  • Price check: Price comparison tools can help you know for sure whether you’re getting the best deal on any given item. These tools automatically research what you’re searching for to show you the best prices available.
  • Use coupons. These days you don’t need to spend hours scanning the paper with scissors. Online coupons and discount codes can help you save big at checkout. Before clicking “Purchase,” always verify whether any such deals are available.
  • Connect: Brands are looking to connect with their consumers online. In some cases, you can earn cash for your everyday searches by clicking on relevant ads. Likewise, by sharing your valued consumer opinion through surveys, many brands will reward you with cash.
  • Use shopping tools: Download a free browser app which will automatically allow you to earn cash for your everyday searches, and also find the best coupon codes while you shop online. For example, online search and save companion Qmee unobtrusively becomes part of your browser to work with search engines and commerce sites such as Google, Bing, Amazon and Walmart, to help you search for what you want, compare prices, secure discounts and offer opinions while earning cash. It’s a good tool to help college kids stick to a budget while shopping for everything from books to dorm supplies. For more information or to download, visit Qmee.com.

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Tips to Save on Back to School Necessities


(c) Monkey Business - Fotolia.com

(c) Monkey Business – Fotolia.com

(StatePoint) After a relaxing summer, back-to-school worries can be stressful and expensive, from purchasing new school supplies to planning lunches.

The discount experts at Dollar General are sharing tips to help you save time and money when planning for the new school year.

Stock Up On School Supplies

There are plenty of ways to dwindle down your spending as you get your child ready for the first day of school. The best place to start is with the school supply list provided by the teacher.

Go through all of the supplies from last year and determine what is usable and what needs to be replaced. Access your favorite coupons sites, like Dollar General Digital Coupons, for additional back-to-school savings.

Save on Snack Time

Simplify lunch preparation by stocking up on essential food items that are easy to grab on-the-go. One way to limit busy mornings before school is to set aside one afternoon each week to cook food in bulk that can be used during the week. That way, you don’t have to worry about cooking from scratch each day and can provide your children with balanced meal options.

Take Inventory and Reuse

Buying new clothes may be one of the most expensive parts to back-to-school shopping. Just because it’s a new school year doesn’t mean your child needs an entirely new wardrobe. For the clothes that do need replacing, considering shopping out-of-season to take advantage of clearance sales.

Make back-to-school shopping easy. Planning ahead can help you save on items to ensure this is the best school year yet. Your wallet will surely thank you.

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Back-to-School with grief  


Going back to school can be especially challenging for a child who has recently lost a loved one. Hospice of Michigan encourages parents and educators to understand the signs of childhood grief and then take steps to allow children the chance to grieve in a healthy, productive way.

Going back to school can be especially challenging for a child who has recently lost a loved one. Hospice of Michigan encourages parents and educators to understand the signs of childhood grief and then take steps to allow children the chance to grieve in a healthy, productive way.

While most kids will carry backpacks with books and school supplies when they return to the classroom, others will carry a much heavier and often invisible burden: the grief of losing a loved one.

“Going back to school can be especially challenging for a child coping with grief,” said Karen Monts, director of grief support services at Hospice of Michigan. “If a child has recently lost a parent, it can be difficult to hear other children talking about their families. And while father-daughter dances and grandparents day are special and fun-filled events, they can be painful reminders of loss to a grieving child.”

According to the Coalition to Support Grieving Students, approximately one in 20 U.S. children will lose a parent by the time they reach the age of 16. The vast majority of children experience a significant loss of a friend or relative by the time they complete high school. Monts encourages parents of a grieving child to reach out to the child’s school and alert staff to a recent death in the family. She also urges educators to equip themselves to help students suffering from grief. Books, websites and blogs about children and grief can all be great resources; www.kidsgrief.org is a good place to start.

“Grief isn’t something children can leave at home; it will follow them to school and they may turn to their teacher for help,” Monts said. “Teachers should have a private discussion with the student when he or she returns to school. Just having the conversation can validate and normalize the grieving child’s feelings. The teacher and guardian should also ask if it’s OK to let the class know about the death the student is coping with. The teacher can explain that while discussing the recent death with the class might be uncomfortable, it will make things easier in the long run.”

Monts warns that it can be difficult to recognize a child struggling with grief because it’s often a feeling young children in particular can’t verbalize. Instead, feelings of grief in children typically come out in behaviors and actions. Some signs that a child might be having a hard time coping include:

  • Persistent feelings of sadness
  • Spending a lot of time alone
  • Loss of interest in activities
  • Increasingly anxious about being left alone
  • Regression to a previous stage of development
  • Problems sleeping or change in appetite
  • Falling grades or refusal to go to school
  • Frequent tearful outbursts
  • Constantly imitating or repeatedly stating that he or she wants to join the deceased

If educators recognize these symptoms in students, they should alert a parent or guardian. There are also things a teacher can do to help a student suffering from grief, including:

  • Comfort the child by being patient, spending extra time and letting the student know he or she is not alone.
  • Acknowledge the child’s loss and grief.
  • Listen, which can validate the child’s feelings, and make sure the child isn’t taking responsibility for the death.
  • Explain that strong feelings of sadness, fear, anger, etc. are normal and encourage the child to express these feelings.

If symptoms become severe, the school, parent or guardian might consider involving a social worker or counselor.

While school can present additional challenges for a grieving child, Monts explains that it can also be an escape. “When a family experiences a significant loss, life at home can become very sad and school can be a great diversion,” Monts said. “This is especially true if the classroom is a healthy place and the teacher has created a caring atmosphere that allows the child to share their feelings in a non-judgmental environment.”

Grief is a personal and individual experience that takes place over time. While it may take some children years to work through their grief, Monts explains that by working together, parents and educators can provide children with a better opportunity to grieve in a healthy, productive way.

Hospice of Michigan partners with other organizations and offers a variety of grief support and educational services, including individual visits, support groups and educational programs. Our services are available to all families involved with Hospice of Michigan as well as the community at large. For more information on any of the services we offer, visit www.hom.org.

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Back to school food safety tips 


 

Back to school, back to the books, back shuttling students to and from extracurricular activities. The new school year likely means back to packing lunches and afterschool snacks for students, scouts, athletes, dancers, and all the other children who carry these items to and from home. One “back” you do not want to reacquaint children with, however, is foodborne bacteria.

Bacteria that cause foodborne illness, commonly known as food poisoning, grow rapidly at temperatures between 40 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit. In this temperature range, these microorganisms can multiply to dangerous levels in just two hours, increasing the risk of foodborne illness. To make sure lunches and snacks are safe for those for whom you pack, you should follow the USDA’s four steps to food safety: Clean, Separate, Cook, and Chill.

Packing Tips

If the lunch/snack contains perishable food items like luncheon meats, eggs, cheese, or yogurt, make sure to pack it with at least two cold sources. Harmful bacteria multiply rapidly, so perishable food transported without an ice source will not stay safe long.

Frozen juice boxes or water can also be used as freezer packs. Freeze these items overnight and use with at least one other freezer pack. By lunchtime, the liquid should be thawed and ready to drink.

Pack lunches containing perishable food in an insulated lunchbox or soft-sided lunch bag. Perishable food can be unsafe to eat by lunchtime if packed in a paper bag.

If packing a hot lunch, like soup, chili or stew, use an insulated container to keep it hot. Fill the container with boiling water, let stand for a few minutes, empty, and then put in the piping hot food. Tell children to keep the insulated container closed until lunchtime to keep the food hot at 140 °F or above.

If packing a child’s lunch the night before, parents should leave it in the refrigerator overnight. The meal will stay cold longer because everything will be refrigerator temperature when it is placed in the lunchbox.

If you’re responsible for packing snacks for the team, troop, or group, keep perishable foods in a cooler with ice or cold packs until snack time. Pack snacks in individual bags or containers, rather than having children share food from one serving dish.

Storage Tips

If possible, a child’s lunch should be stored in a refrigerator or cooler with ice upon arrival. Leave the lid of the lunchbox or bag open in the fridge so that cold air can better circulate and keep the food cold.

Eating and Disposal Tips

Pack disposable wipes for washing hands before and after eating.

After lunch, discard all leftover food, used food packaging, and paper bags. Do not reuse packaging because it could contaminate other food and cause foodborne illness.

Consumers can learn more about key food safety practices at Foodsafety.gov, by “following” @USDAFoodSafety on Twitter, and by “liking” Facebook.com/FoodSafety.gov. Consumers with questions about food safety, can call the USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline at 1-888-MPHotline (1-888-674-6854) or chat live with a food safety specialist at AskKaren.gov, available from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday, in English or Spanish.

If you have questions about storage times of food or beverages, download USDA’s new FoodKeeper application for Android and iOS devices.

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Keep children’s vaccines current


 

National Immunization Awareness month

With school right around the corner, Michigan parents are encouraged to get a head start on back-to-school planning by talking with a pediatrician today about recommended vaccines. Before beginning school in the fall, children entering a licensed childcare facility, kindergarten, 7th grade, or moving to a new school district, need to be up to date on their immunizations or obtain a waiver from their local health department.

“Now is the perfect time to talk with your family physician about the vaccinations your children need before the school year,” said Dr. Eden Wells, chief medical executive for the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS). “Immunizations are safe and effective, and by keeping current on the recommended vaccination schedule, parents can protect their children and our communities against vaccine-preventable diseases.”

Every year there are cases of vaccine-preventable diseases in Michigan. Nationally, there has been a recent increase in cases of measles, and the only way to reverse the trend is to build and maintain high vaccination rates in our communities. Currently, Michigan’s statewide waiver rate for children and adolescents is 5 percent, but rates vary by county. To address this, MDHHS is partnering with local health departments to educate parents on the benefits of vaccines and the risks associated with not vaccinating risks to both to the individual and the community.

As part of these efforts, beginning January 2015, a new administrative rule went into effect requiring parents to talk with a health educator at their local health department before opting their children out of vaccinations. The new rule ensures parents and guardians seeking a non-medical waiver have the opportunity to discuss their concerns and questions regarding immunizations prior to the waiver being signed.

Parents are encouraged to make an appointment with their family physician or local health department as early as possible. Further, cost should not be a barrier to vaccinations. The Vaccines for Children (VFC) Program helps provide vaccines to children whose parents or guardians may not be able to afford them. Parents are encouraged to contact their local health department for additional information. Parents who choose not to vaccinate must make an appointment with their local health department to receive a non-medical waiver. It is no longer available at schools or childcare.

For more information about vaccinations including immunization schedules, local health department locations, and resources regarding low-cost vaccination options for the uninsured or underinsured, visit www.michigan.gov/immunize.

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