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Students weighed down by heavy backpacks, ‘text neck’

The Toronto Star – Vikki Ortiz

“For years, the American Academy of Pediatrics has cautioned parents that backpacks should remain no more than 10 to 20 per cent of a child’s body weight to avoid strain on their backs that could lead to chronic pain later in life. Wearing two padded straps and making frequent stops at a locker or elsewhere to lighten a backpack’s load are also recommended, says Sarah Denny, a of the American Academy of Pediatrics’ Council for Injury, Violence and Poison Prevention.” (more)

Debunking Flu Myths: With Close to 100 Children Dead From the Virus, Leading to School Closures in at Least 23 States, Expert Calls ‘Deep-Cleaning’ Schools a ‘Waste of Money, Time, and Effort’

The 74 Million – Laura Fay

“At least 97 children have died, and schools in at least 23 states have closed for a day or longer, due to flu-related symptoms since October 1, according to federal officials. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention acting director Anne Schuchat said the season could break modern records for hospitalizations. The center has described the outbreak as “moderately severe,” on par with 2013–14, which was particularly nasty. The flu is currently widespread in most of the country and could last until May.” (more)

Infectious disease physician dispels vaccine myths ahead of back-to-school physicals

Medical X-Press – Staff Writer

“Having updated vaccinations is an important step for children heading back to school. In 2014, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that vaccines have saved more the 732,000 lives during the past two decades. While studies have repeatedly shown vaccines are the best way to protect our communities from some of the deadliest illnesses, questions still arise. Nadia Qureshi, MD, pediatric infectious disease physician at Loyola University Medical Center, and assistant professor of pediatrics at Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine, sheds light on some common myths about vaccines.”(more)

Time to catch up on reading, writing … and routine shots

Medical X-Press – Staff Writer

“Of all the items on your child’s back-to-school checklist, getting vaccinated is probably your kid’s least favorite. But those shots are essential for keeping children healthy, pediatricians say. Vaccination requirements may vary somewhat from state to state. But all 50 states and Washington, D.C., require children to be vaccinated against diphtheria, tetanus and whooping cough (pertussis), polio, measles and rubella. If your child hasn’t already been vaccinated according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s recommended schedule, it’s not too late, said Dr. David Kimberlin. He is vice chair of pediatrics and co-director of the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s division of pediatric infectious diseases.”(more)

Are soft contact lenses safe for children? Risks seem no higher than in adults

Medical X-Press – Staff Writer

“Available evidence suggests that soft contact lenses can be safely prescribed to children and adolescents, with no increase in adverse effects compared to adults, according to a review in the June issue of Optometry and Vision Science, the official journal of the American Academy of Optometry. The risk of safety problems from soft contact lens wear may even be lower in younger children compared to teens—possibly reflecting a lower rate of behaviors associated with increased risk for complications, suggests the report by Mark A. Bullimore, MCOptom, PhD, FAAO, of University of Houston College of Optometry.”(more)

Kids’ inactivity rises, creating ‘health care time bomb’

USA Today – Jayne O’Donnell and Joshua Mitchell

“The percent of children aged six to 12 who were physically active three or more times a week had its biggest drop in five years and is now under 25%, new data show. Making matters worse, households with incomes under $50,000 have much higher rates of inactivity than families making more than $75,000 annually, an analysis by the Sports and Fitness Industry Association and PHIT America found. In fact, low income Americans are getting more inactive while high income Americans are becoming more active.”(more)