Keep Your Kid Healthy in the Classroom
It is usually a time of great excitement for kids and parents when school is back in session. What you and your child probably don’t eagerly anticipate is the return of cold and flu season. Children are in such close contact with classmates in school and playground environments that it’s hard to avoid coming down with coughs, sniffles, and more. Learn how to take charge of your kid’s health at school and protect them from germs and viruses.
How Do Germs and Viruses Spread?
Believe it or not, it only takes a single child with a communicable virus to spread it throughout the school and your family—many childhood illnesses are a result of a virus. One sick student who coughs or sneezes without covering his or her mouth or nose can place surrounding children at risk! Even when a sick child is not present, their germs can linger on doorknobs, desks, pencils and food items from infected respiratory droplets and unwashed hands. Without taking extra preventative steps, your child can easily contract a cold or flu.
How Can You Protect Your Child?
Luckily, cold prevention begins somewhere you can manage—at home! Here are some easy tips that parents can teach their child to avoid germs and viruses:
- Frequent hand-washing. Nothing works as well as good ol’ soap and water to remove germs, dirt and grime from exposed skin. Remember that many children do not wash their hands for as long as is necessary to thoroughly clean them. Helpful hint: They should wash their hands for as long as is necessary to sing the Happy Birthday song two times! Hand-washing should be done before eating, as well as after playing outside, nose-blowing and using the toilet.
- Use of an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. The hand sanitizer can be placed in a backpack or desk and can be used prior to eating, or after sharing pencils or a classroom computer or water fountain. Disinfecting wipes are also an excellent option when soap and water is not available.
- Covering the nose or mouth when sneezing or coughing. Kids of all ages should cough or sneeze in the crook of their elbow when a tissue in unavailable. Otherwise, cough and sneeze into a tissue, throw it out and then wash hands.
- Avoid sharing food, personal items and water bottles with others. This is an easy way to avoid coming into contact with infected surfaces.
Pediatricians and nutritionists often recommend a few other preventative measures to reduce your child’s risk of infection. Children should also be eating a vast array of fruits and vegetables that are as minimally processed as possible to get the full nutritional benefits needed for a strong and robust immune system. Kids especially should enjoy a balanced diet that meets the demands of their growing bodies. Additionally, parents should keep children current on vaccinations and make sure they sleep a minimum of 8 hours a night to strengthen the body’s ability to fight back from invasive germs and viruses. Help your child create the habits needed for a lifetime of excellent health!