Have you been seeing all the fun back-to-school pics on social media lately? First days, first games, first performances...so fun! But, what they don’t show is the millions of germs that go back to school with all those kiddos. It won’t be long until we hear about the first round of strep, stomach bug and flu “coming soon to a household near you.”
I decided to get some advice from my sister Kris on the best ways to combat the spread of these germs in my house. She’s not only my sister, she’s also a pediatric nurse who has over 30 years experience dealing with kids and germ warfare.
I’m sharing her 5 tips to get through the start of the school season and beyond!
1. Wash your hands
Seems simplistic, doesn’t it? It is. According to the Center for Disease Control, the simple act of removing germs through hand washing helps prevent diarrhea and respiratory infections and may even help prevent skin and eye infections. From a young age, teach your child to wash their hands. The best way to make sure they wash long enough to slay those bugs is to have them sing a few verses of their favorite song. Making it fun goes a long way. Kris said hand sanitizer will work in a pinch, but nothing kills all germs like hand washing with soap and clean running water.
2. Cover your nose and mouth when sneezing or coughing
In other words: your mom was right! Tissues are a big deal in my house (there’s a box in every room). When a tissue isn’t available, coughing and sneezing into your elbow or sleeve is the best defense against spreading those pesky germ-filled droplets into the air.
3. Get plenty of rest, exercise and nutrition
Sleep makes a big difference in the strength of our immune system. But the amount of activity we get each day matters as well! So what guidelines should you and your kids follow to help reduce risks of infection? Last year, we shared an article with some great advice on the importance of rest, activity and nutrition with simple tips for everyday approaches.
4. Choose to vaccinate against the flu
I know many people have strong opinions on vaccinations, but in my humble opinion, the scientific researchoutweighs the anecdotal stories. There’s always someone you know who got the flu the same year they got the flu shot. This happened to my daughter last year - instead of 10 days of misery, my daughter was only sick for a few days. Kris noted the flu vaccine not only offered some immunity, but likely cut down on the number of days my daughter was ill. Be sure to get the vaccines early in the season, before the likelihood of exposure is at its peak.
5. Keep sickness at home
To me, this is a no-brainer. If your child is sick, keep them at home. Sending them to school just spreads germs to others and keeps the germ war raging. Your kids will get better faster and also prevent others from getting sick by taking a day or two to stay in bed and binge watch a favorite show on Netflix.
Now it’s your turn! What are your tips to keep kiddos healthy at the start of the school year? Comment below or email firstname.lastname@example.org!