At this time of year, with kids going back to school and creche, those pesky bugs seem to rear their heads again and next thing your child is home ill and the family catches it too. Here are some tips on How To Avoid Germs And Bugs Coming Home From School; by following some simple steps you and the rest of the family can help to avoid illness.
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#1. Clean Hands Regularly
Effective hand washing is one of the most important tools in preventing many illnesses and clean hands are vital in controlling the spread of infections and other illnesses such as food poisoning and seasonal flu.
Encourage your child to practise good personal hygiene by washing their hands thoroughly with soap and warm water after using the toilet, and before eating.
#2. Cover Up Coughs and Sneezes
Make sure your child has tissues handy (I buy those mini packs to keep either in their pocket or tuck into their schoolbag). Teach them to cover their nose and mouth when sneezing or coughing, and to use a tissue which they should dispose of in the bin.
You might also like reading 10 Good Tips to Keep Your Child Healthy This School Year
#3. Hand Gels and Wipes are Handy
Buy those little hand gels or small packets of wipes so that if your child is somewhere they can’t wash their hands easily, e.g. field trips or school events, they can still clean their hands.
#4. Keep Fingers Away
Teach your child to avoid touching their face, especially eyes, nose and mouth. Because our hands are constantly picking up germs when you touch your eyes, nose and mouth, you’re putting germs that are on your hands onto your face then.
You might also enjoy reading Everything You Need to Know About Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease
#5. Sharing is Not Caring
Sharing food or drink with a friend can spread cold and flu germs. Teach your child that while it is good to be a sharer, they shouldn’t share food, drinks, or lip balm.
#6. Clean Lunchboxes and Schoolbags Regularly
Help reduce the spread of infection by thoroughly cleaning lunchboxes each day and get your child to help clean out their school bag at least one a week, using a wet cloth or wipe. Don’t forget the bottom of the schoolbag, it’s spending a lot of time on floors!
And make tables where you eat and countertops where you prepare food a no-go zone for schoolbags. That will help prevent germs from getting onto surfaces.
#7. Flu Vaccine
You might like to consider getting your child the flu vaccine. In some places, the vaccine is free for children. Some children are more at risk, e.g. those with asthma so talk with your GP about appropriate options for your child.
#8. Ensure Your Child Gets Plenty of Sleep
Lack of sleep can affect the immune system and when kids don’t get enough sleep, they may be more likely to get sick when exposed to a virus. Check how much sleep your child should be getting and reinforce a good bedtime routine to help them get that necessary sleep.
You might also like reading 6 Secrets to Developing Good Sleeping Habits in Kids
#9. Keep Your Child at Home if They Are Sick
While it can be awkward for work schedules and other commitments, if your child is sick, you should keep them at home. Because bugs and germs are often found in school, these can be easily passed from child to child.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends asking these three questions:
- Is your child too ill to comfortably take part in activities?
- Does your child need more care than the school staff can give without affecting the health and safety of other children?
- Could other children get sick from being near your child?
If you answer yes to either of the first two questions, your child shouldn’t go to school.
If you don’t feel the first two questions apply to your child but you think your child’s illness is contagious, it’s still best to keep them at home, if possible, until the risk of contagion has passed.
#10. Teach Kids How Infections Spread
Talk about how infections spread with your child. There are also websites such as e-Bug, which has a series of fun online games for children such as the Bogey Bus, Microbe Mania, Kitchen Mayhem and Super Sneezes to teach them about this in a fun way.
Over to you now. Any tips on avoiding school germs coming home? Share them with us in the comments below.