When you have a group of small children in a confined space like a classroom, one little sniffle can quickly become a whole big group of sniffles!! Teaching young children about hygiene, germs and illnesses is not an easy task, and you don't want to scare them with horror stories. But there are some things you can teach your child to minimize the chances of them picking up the sniffles from the rest of the class.
The most common way of catching a bug or illness is by rubbing your eyes, finger sucking, nose picking after your hands have come into contact with germs. Research studies have shown that only about half of middle school students wash their hands after using the restroom, and even if they do wash their hands, most don't even use soap! So getting your child into the habit of washing their hand (properly!) after going to the bathroom and before eating can really help.
Get the Flu shot
Making sure your child is up to date with their scheduled vaccines is really important to keep them in good health. Speak with your child's doctor about them also getting a seasonal flu vaccine. The Center for Disease Control recommends that everyone over 6 months receive the flu vaccine. Although the flu vaccine does not protect your child from all strains of the virus, it does protect against some of the most rapid forms.
Hand sanitizer gel
Sometimes it is not always possible to wash hands before eating, so getting your child use to using hand sanitizer gel is also a good idea. It is important to show your child how to use the gel effectively by rubbing it all over their hands and fingers and letting it dry. You should check your school's policy to make sure it is allowed to send to school with your child, and let the teachers know.
We all want our kids to be kind and share their stuff with the other kids, but it is important the know what is ok to share and what is not ok to share while at school. For older children make sure they know not to share things like make-up, creams, lip gloss and other such products as these can be ideal for the spread of MRSA, and other skin infections. Also sharing items like towels, sports clothing and equipment can spread germs.
Teaching your child about germs
As I mentioned above, you do not want to tell horror stories to your child about big nasty germs and turn them into a germophobe, but you can sit and talk with your child and explain how germs travel, that they cause colds and tummy bugs. Explain how when another child at school is sick, coughing and sneezing they should give them some extra space. And when your child is sick make sure they know how important it is to cough and sneeze into a tissue and wash their hands.
While even with all these tips you can not avoid catching a bug or cold, I hope it helps minimize the number bugs your child get this school year.
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