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Thank you to the Florida Department of Health in Polk County for recommending the following Back-to-School health tips:

August 9, 2016

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As students and families prepare to return to school, the Florida Department of Health in Polk County (DOH-Polk) reminds residents to take the proper steps to stay healthy this school year. Good health is important for students in order to maintain regular school attendance and be ready to learn.

“Students who practice good healthy habits tend to perform better in school and are better able to reach their full potential,” says Dr. Joy Jackson, director of DOH-Polk. “Health-risks such as illnesses and unhealthy behaviors can contribute to poor grades and lower test scores.”

Of course, students can only do well in school if they feel healthy enough to attend. The following are important steps children and families should take to reduce the number of sick days for the new school year:

  1. Get Vaccinated- Vaccines are crucial to keeping students well. Make sure student’s vaccinations are up-to-date. Students are required to have all mandated vaccines to attend Polk County schools. Once flu shots are available, it is important to get them as soon as possible.

  2. Keep Hands Washed- Keeping hands clean helps reduce the spread of germs and diseases that are easily transmitted in schools. Washing hands for 20 seconds with warm, soapy water is a great way to reduce the chances of catching whatever illnesses may be going around.

  3. Practice Healthy Habits- A great way to avoid health risks is to develop healthy habits. DOH-Polk their prescription for healthier, active living with the 5-2-1-0 program. This program is designed to encourage children and families to adapt a healthier lifestyle with simple and healthier choices. 5-2-1-0 encourages children and families to: 

    • 5- Eat at least 5 fruits and vegetables every day
    • 2- Limit screen time to 2 hours or less per day. Screen time includes TV, computers, video games, smart phones, etc.
    • 1- Get 1 hour or more of physical activity every day. Make time to be active.
    • 0- Drink fewer sugar-sweetened drinks. Try water and fat-free milk for children 2 years and older.

DOH-Polk offers back-to-school immunizations during regular clinic hours at the following clinic locations:
Auburndale, Haines City, Lakeland and Lake Wales.
Clinic addresses and phone numbers can be found on the DOH-Polk website,
For more information about the required vaccines for school-aged children, visit