Germs at School: How to Keep Your Kids Healthy


germs at school: how to keep your kids healthyWhile school offers fresh experiences that nurture growth, it also brings coughs, fevers and runny noses. To keep your kids healthy throughout the school year, learn a few basics for staying well.

Keeping Germs at Bay

Since it brings children into close quarters, school is a breeding ground for germs. Most young children make things worse by failing to practice good hygiene. There are a number of unhygienic habits that promote infection, including:

  • Touching food: Lunchtime is a risky time for kids, who often forget to wash their hands before eating.
  • Touching surfaces: Whether it’s a pencil, desk or door knob, just about any surface can harbor germs.
  • Touching the face: When they habitually touch their faces, kids tend to spread germs from their fingers to their mouths, noses and eyes.
  • Sneezing and coughing: Since they tend to bunch children closely together, classrooms can be especially bad about spreading airborne illnesses.

Reducing Exposure

It’s virtually impossible to completely eliminate the risk of infection; however, there are a few things you can do to limit your child’s exposure to germs. These include:

  • Hand washing: Teach your kids to thoroughly scrub their hands with soap for 20 seconds, especially before lunch.
  • Get vaccinated: A seasonal flu vaccine can drastically reduce your child’s risk of contracting influenza.
  • Sanitize: Tell your kids to use hand sanitizer frequently throughout the day.
  • Avoid touching the face: Teach your kids to avoid touching their mouths or faces.
  • Covering the mouth: Tell your kids to cover their mouths when they sneeze or cough.
  • Don’t touch others: Teach your children to keep their hands to themselves.

Preventing Outbreaks

It’s not always easy for busy parents to keep their children home when they aren’t feeling well. That said, when sick children go to school, they can promote serious outbreaks that last for weeks. If your child shows any signs of an illness, do your best to quarantine them at home until you are sure they are no longer contagious.

Dr. Jeannie Kenkare

Written by Dr. Jeannie Kenkare

Dr. Kenkare is a highly experienced clinician with a background in family medicine. As a founding member of PhysicianOne Urgent Care's parent company Happy Mountains, she is also our Chief Medical Officer. Dr. Kenkare provides guidance and leadership to our health care team, and is responsible for the review of clinical guidelines, decision tools, and outcomes to develop and implement strategies that will improve patient care and clinical quality.


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