Ten Tips to Avoid All Those Back-to-School Germs

It never fails: When kids go back to school, they bring home a lot more than
homework. They bring germs (bacteria and viruses) that lead to pinkeye, upset stomachs, flu bugs, sore throats and a constant stream of colds. It’s enough to make you think BTS stands for back-to-sick season.

Let’s face it, when you put a lot of kids together in close quarters where they’re all sharing supplies, just add in a couple of seasonal viruses and you have a recipe for back-to-school illnesses to spread.

This year, it’s time to teach those germs a lesson. We can help prevent the spread of disease with these tips:

  1. 80% of infectious diseases are spread by touch. Encourage kids to wash their hands
    …before eating
    …after using the bathroom
    …after being in contact with someone who is sick
    Hand washing with soap removes germs and helps prevent the spread of
    pinkeye, E.coli, respiratory infections, Hepatitis A and diarrhea-related
    illness. Here’s another sobering thought: According to Stanford Children’s
    Health, only two-thirds of adults wash their hands after using the restroom
    (Ewww) so imagine the statistics for kids who aren’t old enough to know
    better.
  2.  Teach kids to sneeze like a vampire: Cover your mouth with the crook of your elbow when you sneeze and cough. Resist the urge to sneeze into your hands.
  3.  Sharing is not always caring. Kids think they’re being kind by sharing their
    snacks, toys and supplies, but they’re also sharing germs. Teach them to
    avoid sharing personal items – especially ones that touch their mouth or
    earbuds. Send your child to school with their own tissues too.
  4. Protect everyone in your family with a flu shot as soon as it’s available. It’s
    the best way to prevent the flu.
  5. Know when to keep your child home from school. Ask yourself: Does your
    child have a fever? Is s/he too run down to get much out of lessons? Does it
    look like the flu or pinkeye? If you think it could be contagious, don’t send
    your child back.
  6. Make sure kids get plenty of rest. Vitamin ZZZ helps the body beat germs by
    producing proteins (cytokines) that can fight infection, illness and stress. It
    also promotes growth, reduces the risk of injury and can even improve
    attention span.
  7. Watch for bag-teria. Consider all the places where your kids’ backpacks land and what else could be hitching a ride. Do you really want them on the table or counter where you prepare and serve food? Give them a good wipe-down with Lysol frequently.
  8. Update contact info. Make sure you have a good number for your kids’ school programmed into your cell phone, and also check that they have your work and cell number. That way, if your child gets sick at school they know how to easily contact you.
  9. Consider probiotics. Instead of fighting bacteria with anti-bacterial products, try boosting the amount of good bacteria in your child’s immune system. (No, it doesn’t mean washing your hands with yogurt.) Ask your doctor if taking a daily probiotic might help.
  10. Make sure your child is up-to-date on all immunizations. It’s a good idea to
    get a check-up before school anyway. Make an appointment at one of the
    seven convenient YourTown Health Locations.