Germs and Going Back to School

By Edward Stenehjem MD

It’s back to school time, and germs are going to be everywhere. We can’t escape them, so the biggest thing we can do is prevention. Here are five simple tips to think about that will help your kids stay healthy and happy as the new school year begins.

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  1. Good Hand Hygiene. Hand washing is most important. Many germs are transferred from our hands, so a good tip is to always carry alcohol based hand-washing gel. This hand-washing solution is easy to keep in your pocket, locker, backpack, or desk, making frequent use easy!
  2. Fully Vaccinated. Make sure that your kids’ vaccinations are up to date. Flu season is around the corner and the new vaccinations are coming out in September.
  3. Cough Etiquette. Teach your kids about covering his/her mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing. This also prevents germs from spreading.
  4. Allow kids to stay home when sick. Many times when our kids are sick, we force them to tough it out and send them to school anyway. However, when one of your kids has a fever, vomiting, diarrhea, or a bad cough, keep them home. This action alone will prevent others at school from getting sick and will allow a safer, quicker recovery for your kids.
  5. Be Aware. As your kids go from place to place throughout the day at school, they come in contact with so many different objects and environments. Many of these objects are hotbeds for germs, including keyboards, the mouse, doorknobs, and drinking fountains. Teach your kids to be aware of where they are going and what they are touching and to remember to wash his/her hands.

As far as the timing of when you should teach your kids about germs, you can never start too early. As soon as you feel they can understand these simple tips, start teaching about what germs are and how to prevent them.