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Expert Pediatrician from Dignity Health Medical Group - Dominican Offers Four Tips for Back-to-School Health


Dignity Health Medical Group pediatrician Komal Afzal, DO, offers four tips for families preparing for the new school season.

SANTA CRUZ, CA - August 8, 2017 — Dignity Health Medical Group – Dominican, a service of Dignity Health Medical Foundation, is encouraging parents throughout Santa Cruz County to prepare for back-to-school season by focusing on family health. Dignity Health Medical Group pediatrician Komal Afzal, DO, offers four tips for families preparing for the new school season:

1. Make sure children have all the required vaccinations.
In the state of California, and specifically the greater Santa Cruz County area, schoolchildren are required to receive certain immunizations. Vaccinations stimulate the body’s immune system and protect children from dangerous infections and diseases.

2. Maintain a healthy diet through the transition.

When children go back to school, it can shake up a family’s eating routine. “Try to prepare for early wake-up times so that your family can still enjoy a balanced breakfast before heading out the door,” says Dr. Afzal. Studies show that children are more alert during class after they have eaten a healthy meal in the morning.

3. Establish reasonable bedtimes.

Dr. Afzal recommends starting the bedtime transition two weeks before school starts, if possible. Children who get plenty of sleep are able to pay attention during class and keep a positive attitude. “If your child is struggling with earlier bedtimes, try adjusting their diet, reducing their digital device time in the evening and encouraging quiet time activities before bed,” says Dr. Afzal.

4. Avoid and prevent the spread of new germs.
Proper hand hygiene is very important for kids, as schools and playgrounds can host millions of germs. Children should wash their hands before eating, after using the restroom, after sneezing or coughing and as soon as they get home. “On average, kids get six to 10 colds each year,” says Dr. Afzal. “Hand washing is the best defense against new sicknesses your child will be exposed to when school starts.”

While parents are preparing for the new school season, it’s a good time to also schedule yearly physical exams for the entire family. During an annual exam, doctors screen for potential hidden health problems and are available to answer questions. Dignity Health Medical Group - Dominican operates 18 clinics in Santa Cruz County, with specialties including pediatrics, family medicine, internal medicine, oncology, hematology, gastroenterology, OB/GYN, urology, physical medicine and rehabilitation, urgent care and more.

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About Pediatrician Komal Afzal, DO
Dr. Komal Afzal, DO, graduated from Rowan University School of Osteopathic Medicine in New Jersey. She completed her pediatrics residency at Children’s Hospital of Michigan, where she was named Resident of the Year. Dr. Afzal speaks Spanish, Hindi, and Punjabi. Dr. Afzal’s special clinical interests include nutrition, preventive health and population health. She is accepting new patients at 1820 41st Avenue, Suite D, in Capitola. To make an appointment, call 831.476.3000.

About Dignity Health Medical Group - Dominican
Dignity Health Medical Group - Dominican is committed to serving the continuing health care needs of Santa Cruz County. Supported by the rich community history of Dominican Hospital, Dignity Health Medical Group - Dominican doctors provide convenient, personalized care for everyone in your family. Local primary care physicians and physician specialists offer a full range of health care services, and ensure continuity of care during a hospital stay. Dignity Health Medical Group - Dominican operates 18 clinics in Santa Cruz County, with specialties including pediatrics, oncology & hematology, plastic & reconstructive surgery, gastroenterology, OB/GYN, urology, physical medicine and rehabilitation, and urgent care.

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About Dignity Health Medical Foundation

Dignity Health Medical Foundation, established in 1993, is a not-for-profit organization providing award- winning and patient-centered ambulatory services in a variety of areas including primary and specialty care, diagnostic imaging, vision, occupational health, urgent care, and behavioral health. Dignity Health Medical Foundation supports physician medical groups, Independent Physician Associations (IPAs), and network providers representing 1,500 employed and independent providers across California. Read more about Dignity Health Medical Foundation and the wide range of services it provides.

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