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The annual Providence Centralia “Healthier Together” Event could not come at a better time. In addition to the amazing opportunity to get their cholesterol, blood sugar, and blood pressure tested and speak with health care professionals in many fields like physical therapy and chiropractic.

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Team Abbarno at the 2019 Providence Centralia Healthier Together Event

I am very thankful for Providence and their Healthier Together event. Our family has a great time joining the 5k races and I appreciate the Providence staff taking the time to host a free event that focuses on the community’s health and prevention. I have long felt that “we” don’t focus enough on preventing illness and disease.

As a father of two elementary school students, and husband of a middle school teacher, it is this time of year that I notice the runny noses, sneezes, and coughs. They bring home EVERYTHING to this innocent father and husband.

Each year, I fall victim to the germs brought home by my loved ones. So, here are some back to school health tips I picked up at the Healthier Together Event and along the way. . .

Back-to-School Health Tips To Keep an Innocent Spouse Healthy!

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First Day of School

Wash Hands Regularly

According to Mayo Clinic, the most effective way to avoid spreading or catching germs is hand washing. I noticed that the best way to get my children (and wife) to wash their hands is to set a timer or sing a song. That way they can’t get away with just running their hands under water.

Simple soap and water is best, but hand sanitizers will do when soap and water aren’t available. Remind your children to always cough or sneeze into the crooks of their elbows or into their sleeves.

Get a Check-Up

Before you children or spouse-teacher go back to school, schedule an annual physical exam will ensure your child (spouse-teacher) is healthy and virus-free before going back to class. In many school districts, a physical is required for those students who want to participate in school sports such as football.

Routine. . . Routine. . . Routine

At least a week before classes start, shift your kids from summer carefree sleep hours to bedtime schedules more in line with the school year. Children and Teachers need sleep and a routine to ensure they stay healthy.

In my house, during school our children are upstairs at 7pm and in bed at 8pm. This routine starts mid-August so there is less objections and struggles when school starts.

Healthy Eating (Hot Lunch v. Cold Lunch)

Childhood obesity continues to rise and with it, a greater health risk to those affected. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), you can buck this trend.

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First Day of School Breakfast.

Provide healthy meal options for your kids. This includes breakfast. Students and teachers who eat breakfast are more alert during class than those who don’t. Plus, the right foods combined with adequate rest will help their bodies fight off infections.

In addition, think cold lunch. Spending quality time with your student reinforces good food and eating habits and creates discussion about what is and what is not healthy.

The dreaded little white bugs (lice)

Notice any excessive head scratching? Stress the importance to your child of not sharing combs, hats, and clothes, and send your child’s own pillow on a sleepover. Stress to your teacher-spouse to be vigilant in the classroom to look for all the signs of lice.

Do a visual head check at least once a week, particularly for younger children.


If you don’t have a personal or religious objection to the immunizations, it is important to stay current on the immunization schedule recommended by the CDC. Many schools, from primary to graduate school, require proof of immunization or a waiver for a personal or religious reason.


A new school year coincides with a new allergy season. Students and Teachers that suffer from allergies get a rude awakening when the heaters get turned on and the doors and windows get closed. Dust!!

For some kids, it means a runny nose, sneezing, coughing, and watery eyes. For others, these allergens can trigger asthma or lead indirectly to sinus infections. Be sure to speak with your family physician about causes and treatments. It might be a good time to get the family tested for allergies.

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Antonio (Age 6) and I finished the 5k in 28:15.

Healthier Together

I am looking forward to the Healthier Together Event and picking up some more tips and healthy habits. Thanks Providence Centralia!

Learn more about Providence Centralia at

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