With back-to-school comes a “back-to-germs” feeling for many parents. Soon, your child will walk in the door coughing or complaining of a stomachache. Is it avoidable? There’s no way to prevent a child from avoiding all germs and illnesses, but there are steps to take now to ensure your child is as healthy as possible as they head to school. Here’s a checklist for keeping your kids healthy this coming school year.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) noted that getting vaccinated from the flu is the single best way to prevent getting it. Your child’s pediatrician as well as many local medical centers and walk-in clinics offer this type of vaccination. You can visit the CDC’s website to stay up to date on the current season’s flu vaccination availability. This site updates every season with new information.
Handwashing is another powerful tool against the spreading of illness. Germs of all types are commonly shared in this way. Touching surfaces contaminated from coughing or sneezing, for example, allows an individual to transfer those germs to themselves. Cold and flu germs remain infectious for several hours on surfaces. Here are some tips:
- Teach children to not touch their face, especially their eyes and mouth, unless they’ve washed their hands first.
- Make sure kids know to wash their hands before eating.
- Add sanitizers to their lunch box so germs are killed before eating.
The more frequently your child washes his or her hands, the less risk there is for spreading germs. BrainPOP Educators offered fun and creative ways to teach kids how to properly wash their hands.
Stay Away From Germs
As kids enter new grades and schools, it’s more common for them to be exposed to germs their immune systems haven’t built up antibodies to. Disease and germs in schools, playgrounds and recreational centers tend to be pretty rampant. How can you teach kids to stay safe?
- Everyone should keep mouths and noses covered when coughing or sneezing.
- Stay at home if you’re sick. Encourage sick kids not to visit friends or family.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
Communicate with kids about the importance of remaining healthy and how they can play an active role in doing so.
How to Prep Your Home for Safety
Educating your kids and other family members about how to remain healthy is the most important way to keep them in tip-top shape this flu season. Do a few things around the home to increase your chances of keeping everyone illness-free, including:
- Place sanitizing solutions near the doors. Before anyone touches anything in the home, sanitize their hands. While it doesn’t replace hand-washing, it can help.
- Put items entering the home in the same place every day.
- Use sanitizing wipes and other cleaners to routinely keep surfaces wiped down. It’s especially important to tackle door handles, phones and kitchen surfaces.
- Use a home air cleaner to remove dust and debris from the air, which can spread mold, mildew and germs.
Taking these steps now before back-to-school germs arrive is an important step in caring for your family. Look around your home and see what you can do to make it a little cleaner.
Sandy Baker is a full-time freelance writer specializing in health, personal finance and internet marketing. Her long-term history online has included publications with companies including Marriott Hotels, The New York Times and dozens of other small and medium-sized businesses. She is also published in print with award-winning books such as The Complete Guide to Estate Planning, Complete Guide to Early Retirement, The Complete Bankruptcy Guide for Consumers and Small Businesses and The Complete Guide to Organic Lawn Care.