As the back-to-school season approaches, it’s not just about shopping for school supplies and picking out new outfits. It’s also the time to brush up on some important lessons in staying healthy, especially in the midst of germs. Whether it’s the common cold, the flu, or other contagious bugs, children can learn valuable habits to protect themselves against germs and stay well throughout the school year. In this blog, we’ll explore some practical tips for children to become germ-savvy as they head back to school.
- Hand Hygiene: The Ultimate Shield
Teaching children proper handwashing techniques is perhaps the most effective way to protect against germs. Encourage them to wash their hands:
– Before eating
– After using the restroom
– After coughing or sneezing
– After touching shared objects or surfaces
Show them how to use soap and warm water, scrubbing for at least 20 seconds (about the time it takes to sing “Happy Birthday” twice). If soap and water are unavailable, carry hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol as a backup.
- Cough and Sneeze Etiquette
In school, children are in close proximity to their peers, making the spread of germs easier. Teach them to cover their mouth and nose with a tissue or their elbow (not their hands) when they cough or sneeze. Proper cough etiquette can prevent the transmission of respiratory illnesses like the common cold and flu.
- Avoid Touching the Face
Our hands are often the bridge that brings germs from surfaces to our face. Remind children not to touch their eyes, nose, or mouth unless their hands are clean. This simple habit can significantly reduce the risk of infection.
- Keep Personal Items Separate
In school, it’s common for children to share items like pencils, crayons, and books. Encourage them to keep their personal belongings separate and avoid sharing when possible. If they do share, remind them to wash their hands afterward.
- Maintain Good Nutrition and Sleep Habits
A strong immune system is a formidable defense against germs. Ensure your child gets enough sleep and maintains a balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Adequate nutrition and sleep help the body fight off infections more effectively.
- Stay Home When Sick
Teach your child the importance of staying home when they’re feeling unwell. Going to school while sick not only prolongs their own recovery but also risks spreading germs to classmates and teachers. It’s essential to rest, recover, and return to school only when they’re symptom-free.
- Regularly Disinfect Personal Items
Regularly clean and disinfect frequently touched items like backpacks, lunchboxes, and electronic devices. This practice can help reduce the presence of germs on items your child uses daily.
Heading back to school is an exciting time for children, but it’s also an opportunity to reinforce good hygiene habits that protect against germs. By teaching them the importance of hand hygiene, proper cough and sneeze etiquette, and healthy lifestyle choices, you’re equipping them with valuable tools to stay germ-savvy and enjoy a healthy school year. Encourage these habits consistently, and you’ll not only help protect your child but also promote a healthier school environment for everyone.