Have you ever noticed that your children seem to get sick the minute you send them back to school in September? It’s not just your imagination. Children spend the summer away from the school environment where ample opportunity to pick up a bug exists. Summer spent enjoying the outdoors and under the watchful eye of caregivers who remind them to wash their hands means less exposure to bacteria and viruses and more time spent engaged in healthy and safe activities.
To break the cycle of increased inceidence of illness once your children return to schoo, we have tips to help you keep your kids healthy at school. You’ll find the obvious ones like wash your hands and don’t share personal items, but read on for tips to help you keep your kids healthy at school that you might not have thought of before.
Some estimates say school-age kids can get up to eight colds a year in addition to other illnesses they may catch. But there are ways kids can help reduce their chances of getting sick.
For a healthier school year (and family), be sure to tell your kids to:
Wash their hands—a lot! Everyone should wash their hands with soap and water after they sneeze, cough, or use the bathroom, and always before they eat. They should also use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer frequently throughout the school day.
Say no to sharing food. As tempting as it seems for kids to sample others’ snacks and drinks, they need to know they could end up really sick—their friends might not yet know they are sick and might pass along germs.
Never set down food on a surface like a desk or cafeteria table.Those kinds of surfaces are often covered with germs. If your child has to put down her food, tell her it’s best to do so on a napkin or plate.
Avoid sharing personal items like combs, brushes, or earbuds. Any personal items can transmit germs, and combs and brushes can also harbor lice.
Avoid touching their eyes and nose as much as possible. Touching the face transmits any germs on the hand, and also transmits germs from the eyes and nose to anything else they touch. If your child needs to touch or rub his eyes or nose, tell him to use a tissue.
Cough or sneeze the right way. While some people think the right way is to cover their nose and mouth with their hands, it’s much better to cough or sneeze into a sleeve or the crook of the elbow. That way, none of the germs will spread to your child’s hands (and to other people).
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