Tag - kids health

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Fresh Air
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Back to School Checklist
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Questions About Vaccines? Please Ask!
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Is It That Time of Year Again?!

Fresh Air

By: Caleb Magoon

benefit of fresh air

There is something beautiful and brilliant about- you guessed it: fresh air. No, not the radio program, the actual air you breathe in on a beautiful day where you are afforded the luxury of quite literally inhaling and exhaling clean air. But there is more to fresh air than just that.

This past week, spring suddenly sprung. This past weekend I spent some time watching, chasing, and playing with my 15-month-old son as he experienced the joy of a warm sunny day after a long Vermont winter. I can’t effectively describe the youthful joy of exploring a world you have only had a taste of, and doing so with the mobility that you have only realized in recent months. His response was purely instinctual and a clear reaction to his circumstances. What a joy to watch him!

Whether it was the fresh air, the sun, or the youthful exploration of the great outdoors, it was infectious. My wife and I had more fun because of it. But there is more to those things that meet the eye. Study after study has shown that kids need to get outside, see the sun, and breathe fresh air.

It doesn’t stop with kids. Just as we know well about “seasonal depression” for folks who need more light throughout the winter, adults too need recess. I see it in every smiling face, grins ear to ear, in the first few beautiful days of the spring. That’s because we can’t help it – our bodies instinctively respond to the rush of air and warmth and sun and we can only smile.

So if I give you any advice for the spring, it’s this: take recess. It doesn’t matter if you simply go for a five-minute walk on your lunch or coffee break, a loop around the block from your car to the building, or whatever! Put those inside cleaning projects on hold and weed the garden. It almost doesn’t matter what you do, just do it outside. If you are lucky enough to have the joy of a little physical recreation, all the better. Your physical and mental help will be the beneficiaries and your neighbors, friends and family will thank you for your sunny disposition.

Enjoy your spring!

Back to School Checklist

By: Jessica Bickford

Pencils… check!

Notebook paper… check!

Erasers…. Check!

Endless stacks of back to school forms… check!

Plans and lists are being made…but the real question facing families with school aged children is: “How are you helping prepare your child for the stress that a new year can bring?” 

While there is no formal checklist for this, I’ve compiled some snippets from some of Healthy Lamoille Valley’s go-to resource websites. We hope you check them out and talk about them as a family!

Parentupvt.orgLearn which students are most at risk of substance misuse, how to prevent misuse, and how to respond if you think your child might be trying alcohol, marijuana, or other drugs.

Website excerpt:

“We all know how important fitting in is when you’re a teenager. And drinking or drugs can seem like an easy way to make new friends and find a place in a new school. Teens can also feel pressured if they’re looking to fit into a group of kids who are drinking or using drugs. And some teens who’ve always been seen as “the good one” may even try to use drinking or drugs to change their image.

That’s why it’s so important to talk to your child and monitor your child’s behaviors, friends, and activities regularly—especially during times of transition.”

Ryanpatrickhalligan.org – Practical suggestions relating to technology and cyberbullying. John Halligan came to Bishop Marshall and Stowe schools last spring to share Ryan’s story with students and parents. If you couldn’t make it, you can now rent John’s parent presentation at this site as well.

Website Excerpt:

“If your child is under 13, you do have the option to have these accounts deleted since most of these services have an age and parental consent requirement per the Federal Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act.

      • Have them share with you all their user account names and passwords.
      • Make certain they never have and will never share their passwords with anyone, even a friend. Explain the risk of someone impersonating them and ruining their reputation
      • Remove the technology (cells phones, tablets, iPods, computers) from the bedroom, specifically, when it is time to sleep.”

Teens.drugabuse.gov – It’s important to give your kids resources as well. This one is designed for teens, but also has links for parents including researched based scientific facts about various drugs.

Website Excerpt:

“Another teen from Croatan High School in North Carolina submitted:

My best friend of 7 years has smoked cigarettes, smoked marijuana, and tried other drugs since she was 11. She has dealt with social services, law enforcement, and was sent to a foster home for 3 months. She has been back home for a month and says she’s going to change. I love her and don’t want her to go back down the same road again, but she doesn’t want to hear it when I talk to her about drugs. How can I help her?”

Healthvermont.gov – State, county, and school district data helps you to know what struggles and strengths your student encounters daily. Many of Lamoille Valley’s Middle and High Schools have student “Getting to Y” groups looking at this data and planning ways to help their classmates who may be struggling.

Website Excerpt:

“The YRBS was developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in 1990 to monitor priority health risk behaviors that contribute to the leading causes of death, disease, injury and social problems among youth. These behaviors, often established during childhood and early adolescence, include:

  • Behaviors that contribute to unintentional injuries and violence
  • Physical activity
  • Nutrition
  • Weight status
  • Tobacco use
  • Alcohol and other drug use
  • Sexual behaviors

The survey is part of a larger effort to help communities increase the resiliency of young people by reducing high risk behaviors and promoting healthy behaviors. Vermont collects student responses every two years from nearly every high school and middle school in the state.”

Was this information helpful? Do you have other resources you’d like to share? Share in the comments section below or message the author at: jessica@healthylamoillevalley.org.


Jessica Bickford has worked as Coordinator of Healthy Lamoille Valley for a little over two years, where she has enjoyed writing for their blog. Writing for Copley’s community blog is a natural extension of this experience! Healthy Lamoille Valley focuses on making healthy choices easy choices, realizing that when we have access to healthy options we are less likely to choose behaviors that are harmful. Prevention is really a lifestyle of wise choices that enable us to live life to the fullest.

Questions About Vaccines? Please Ask!

By: Leah Hollenberger

The topic of vaccines and immunizations can be an emotional one. Certainly, as a parent, we want to protect our community, but at the same time, we want to do what is best for our child and avoid any harm. I did some reading on my own and, I am sure many of you can agree, it is easy to get overwhelmed with the amount of information and opinion that is available today.

I spoke with pediatrician Adrienne Pahl, MD with Appleseed Pediatrics. Dr. Pahl encouraged me to talk with my doctor. “Share your concerns, share what you are worried about with your doctor,” Dr. Pahl said.  “We can talk about current studies and findings and talk through recommendations with you. The most important thing to remember is that it is ok to ask.”

Dr. Pahl believes that vaccines are safe and effective and should be administered unless the child is unable to be vaccinated due to other health reasons. She bases her belief on extensive scientific evidence demonstrating the safety of vaccines and having cared for thousands of children. She explains that while we may not see many of the diseases for which we vaccinate, the bacteria and viruses that cause them are still around – here and in other countries. Vaccinations, along with better nutrition, better living conditions, hand-washing, and appropriate use of antibiotics, has meant many of us have never had to deal with an outbreak of polio or mumps. Her goal is that we never have to.

Here are several resources Dr. Pahl recommends to parents interested in learning more about vaccines:

Healthychildren.org – The American Academy of Pediatricians has a website that covers a wide variety of information of interest to parents. They have a number of articles about vaccines and immunizations, including a good FAQ.

Oktoaskvt.org – The Vermont Department of Health’s website about vaccines. Look here for information about state vaccine requirements. Dr. Pahl especially likes this site because of the “Ask” section: you can submit your questions about vaccines and local medical professionals will answer them.

What We Know About Vaccines and Autism – A blog article from UVM about vaccines and autism

Vaccine Education Center at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia – Comprehensive and reliable information about vaccines for patients and healthcare professionals.

A listing of community resources for a variety of issues and topics is available online at copleyvt.org/community-resources.


Leah Hollenberger is the Vice President of Marketing, Development, and Community Relations for Copley Hospital. A former award-winning TV and Radio producer, she is the mother of two and lives in Morrisville. Her free time is spent volunteering, cooking, playing outdoors, and producing textile arts. Leah writes about community events, preventive care, and assorted ideas to help one make healthy choices.

Is It That Time of Year Again?!

By: Valerie Valcour

back-to-school

Recently I received, in the mail, a 15 X 12 colorful back-to-school flyer advertising a wireless internet offer. The flyer tells me how I can save money and help my student get more homework done, all by just signing up for this online offer.

This made me think about other back-to-school strategies that should be promoted, for example, getting your tween or teen in to see their doctor for a regular comprehensive physical exam once a year. This annual exam is an opportunity for your child to talk to another trusted adult and build a relationship that will last throughout their school years and beyond. We also know when students are healthy they learn better.

Your son or daughter’s physician welcomes being part of the back-to-school routine. They will take the time to talk with your child about things that matter to them such as relationships, peer pressures, and sports. Your doctor will also talk about other issues such as healthy weight, substance use and smoking, among other things. To see what to expect during a routine visit, read through the American Academy of Pediatrics’ Bright Futures pre-visit questionnaires.

Even after all the required school entrance vaccines have been met, and even if your child doesn’t play sports, they will benefit from seeing their doctor once a year. Read more about why visits with your child’s doctor are important here.

Your school nurse is another member of your child’s healthcare team. School nurses help ensure kids have health insurance and access to health care, and they work with parents and other school officials to help keep children and youth as healthy as possible. For more resources, see Vermont School Health’s website.

So consider this your back-to-school reminder to make a doctor’s appointment for your tween or teen. If you would like more information about talking with your child about making healthy choices check out the Vermont Department of Health’s Parent-Up website.


Valerie Valcour is a Public Health Nurse and specializes in chronic disease prevention and emergency preparedness at the community level for the Department of Health in Morrisville. Valerie has lived in Lamoille County most of her life. She graduated from People’s Academy in 1983 and worked as a nurse at Copley Hospital for several years. In addition to her work, she volunteers as a board member of both Community Health Services of Lamoille Valley and the Lamoille County Planning Commission.