Although the back-to-school season brings the excitement of new classes, friends and activities, it also brings about the risk of spreading germs and illness. Ailments such as colds, coughs and head lice are commonly spread during the first months of the school year, but can be easily preventable if certain precautions are taken. To keep children healthy and happy as they embark on the year to come, Subbarao Gorti, MD, a family practice physician and medical director for Aria Health FastCare, offers the following tips to keep in mind before children head back to the classroom:
- Teach your children how to properly wash their hands
Teaching children the correct way to wash their hands is crucial for fighting off germs. Proper hand washing includes five steps: wet, lather, scrub, rinse and dry. When your children wash their hands adequately, they lessen the risk of spreading and receiving germs that can bring about a cold or sickness.
- Pack a school survival kit
Consider including a few items in your child’s backpack that will help fight off germs, including travel sized hand sanitizer, personal tissues and wet wipes. By sending children to school with these materials, they can quickly clean up at any location, and can avoid other people’s germs by using their own tissues.
- Consider Water Bottles
Children should take care around water fountains, as they are a huge source of spreading germs. Add disposable or reusable water bottles to your back-to-school shopping list. Reusable water bottles can be filled prior to school and can be used throughout the year.
- Educate and Inform
Educate your children about how germs spread, and ways they can prevent sickness. For example: avoid sharing drinks, hats and other school materials. Also, have your child inform you when one of their friends or classmates is ill. If they are sick, let your child know that it may not be the best idea to invite them over after school and to frequently wash their hands to avoid the illness.
- Get their immunizations now
Prior to the school year, be sure to have you and your child’s immunizations completed. Infants and young children are said to be most at risk for contracting preventable illnesses. Influenza is one of the leading sicknesses spread throughout schools each year, and the vaccine is a good way to prevent the spread. Although the flu vaccine may not ensure complete immunization, it can make your illness milder if you do catch the sickness.
While it’s not always possible to completely fend off germs and the spread of illness, these tips can help your child prevent sickness throughout the year.
On Behalf of Aria Health