Preventing Sickness When Going Back to School
On average, young children catch between six and ten colds in a single school year. Here are some practical tips to help you keep your child healthy in the classroom.
Get a flu shot. While it can't protect against every form of the influenza virus, a yearly flu shot can keep you child from getting the season's most contagious form of the strain. Make sure to get your child vaccinated before flu season begins. If your family hasn't got their flu shot yet, check out our no-cost flu shots!
Teach proper hygiene. Without question, regular handwashing is the best way to prevent illness. That said, to effectively eliminate bacteria and virus particles, your child will need to scrub his or her hands with soap for 20 full seconds. This is about the equivalent of singing the happy birthday song in their heads.
Teach proper behavior. Unfortunately, young children tend to have problems keeping their hands to themselves. They are also prone to putting objects inside their mouths, whether it's a pencil, toy or their fingers. Since all of these activities spread germs, it's important to remind your kids that only food and water belong in their mouths.
Avoid the face. Many times, children become sick after touching a tainted surface and then transferring germs to their ears, eyes, noses or mouths. Remind your kids to avoid touching their faces. This holds true for kindergarteners and high school students.
Provide hand sanitizer. This can be an effective defense against many common germs. Unfortunately, research suggests that hand sanitizers may not have much effect on noroviruses, which cause gastroenteritis. In turn, sanitizers should not be viewed as a replacement for handwashing.
Why Kids Get Sick
We all catch the occasional cold; however, children are more prone the getting sick for the following reasons:
- They are placed in close proximity to sick peers while in daycare and school.
- They tend to have bad habits that promote the spread of germs.
- They are more vulnerable to germs, because their immune systems are still maturing.
With this in mind, it's clear that kids will get sick, despite the best preventative measures. That said, you can reduce your children’s risk by consistently reminding them to wash their hands and practice good hygiene. You should also vaccinate your child against the seasonal flu before outbreaks occur at school.