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Schools are back in session, and with it comes a number of health concerns ranging from germs to physical ailments.

Boiling Springs Family Medicine physician Dr. Chad Jumper answered a variety of questions regarding back-to-school issues.

Q: What are the benefits of vaccinations, and can a vaccinated child catch something from a child who has not been vaccinated?

A: “Vaccinations reduce the risk of bacterial and viral infections for patients receiving the vaccine and, in many cases, for people around them. No vaccines are 100 percent effective. To this end, a vaccinated child can still be infected by a child who does not get vaccinated.”

Q: What are the common illnesses you see children and teenagers catch when they first get back to school?

A: “With the return to school, we see an increase in infections such as strep throat, mononucleosis, common colds and the flu.”

Q: What would you recommend students do to prevent damaging their backs when it comes to heavy backpacks?

A: “Students should try to minimize the weight of their backpacks as much as possible. Carrying the weight equally by using both straps and wearing the backpack appropriately can help prevent strain on one side of the back.”

Q: Currently, what is the recommended amount of sleep children and teenagers should be getting each night?

A: “Children 6 through 13 years of age should get nine to 11 hours of sleep, while those ages 14 through 17 should receive eight to 10 hours of sleep.”

Q: With the growing opioid epidemic, what are the signs that a student may be using prescription opioids or heroin?

A: “Signs of opioid abuse include anxiety, depression, irritability, a drop in grades, increased absenteeism and social withdrawal.”

Dr. Chad Jumper is a family practice physician at Boiling Springs Family Medicine and is board certified in family medicine. Check Boiling Springs Family Medicine on Twitter @DrChadJumper and on Facebook. This information is intended for educational purposes. Please consult your health care provider for advice about treatments that may affect your individual health.

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