Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, MD, FFARCSI

On an average, children tend to get at least 8 to 10 colds in a year. In fact, a regular cold and cough cause more missed school days and visits to the doctor than any other illness in children. The common cold is often a nightmare for parents to handle as everyone knows how quickly and easily colds pass to other members of the family once one child comes home with a cold from school. The common cold and cough are not the only unpleasant and unwanted disease children risk getting from school. There are many other medical problems such as ear infections, rashes, the stomach flu, etc., that children pick up from school and bring home.

Tips to Prevent Kids From Getting Sick at School

Sitting in a classroom with 20 to 30 other students for five days in a week is a sure shot recipe for falling sick once any one child comes down with something. Regardless of what measures you take at home, your child will still come in contact with germs at school. This is why it is important to know how to keep kids from getting sick at school. We take a look at some ways in which we can ensure that kids don't keep falling sick from germs that linger on desks, lockers, doorknobs, and other surfaces at school.

Keeping their Hands Clean

The importance of keeping the hands of the children clean cannot be stressed upon enough. The common cold virus spreads like a wildfire within the close confines of a school, causing a host of symptoms such as a hacking cough, sore throat, congestion, fatigue, and headaches. There is no cure for the common cold and you just have to wait for the infection to clear up in a couple of days.

  • The preventive measure of washing your hands during the day, especially before having their meals is critical in keeping the germs away. Simply washing their hands with soap and water is enough.
  • Many parents prefer to give their children a hand sanitizer. While hand sanitizer is also usable, it is less effective than the washing of the hands. Nevertheless, keeping a small bottle of hand sanitizer is a good idea if they are unable to readily wash their hands, they will still be able to disinfect their hands.
  • To make the hand sanitizer work effectively, you should tell your child to rub the solution all over their hands and fingers till the product dries off, for about 30 seconds. However, children under the age of six years should not be using hand sanitizer without supervision.
  • The use of hand sanitizers is also recommended for parents who should ideally sanitize their hands when they pick up their children from school or activities, particularly during the cold and flu season.
  • One point to keep in mind is that sanitizers that claim to be natural do not kill sufficient germs. You need to buy a sanitizer that contains at least 60% of alcohol.

Children should also be encouraged to not to touch their face, mouth, or nose with their hands. This will help reduce the risk of catching a cold and also keep them safe from other contagious infections going around, such as pinkeye.

Follow a Strict Vaccination Schedule.

You must have heard the saying, 'prevention is better than cure'. In order to ensure that your child does not bring back a dangerous and life-threatening disease from school, it is an absolute necessity that you keep your child up to date on his/her immunization schedule. Getting everyone in the family the seasonal flu vaccine is also recommended. In fact, since 2010, the US-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has started recommending that everyone over the age of six months should get the flu vaccination done. Even if you miss the vaccine schedule in the fall or winter, then you can even get it in the spring. As the peak flu season does not begin till February, the vaccine will still provide protection even if you get it as late as May.

Stop Sharing Food and Drinks.

While parents generally support the concept of sharing food and drinks with other children, it is best to discourage them from sharing drinks and good as this can easily spread the cold and flu germs. Your child can also get sick from other contagious diseases that are spread through coming in direct contact with mucus or saliva. Some of these contagious illnesses include:

  • Stomach viruses
  • Mononucleosis
  • Hand, foot and mouth disease

Hats and scarves are also some other personal items that should not be shared amongst children. Head lice and ringworm are two potential contagious infections that can be passed through this manner.

Create Awareness.

In order to keep your children safe from germs at school, it is important to create awareness and teach your child to stay away from children who are sneezing or coughing. Tell them to move away from that child and not mingle. If, on the other hand, your child is the one who is sick, then you should teach them to cover their mouth and nose when they sneeze or a cough. If they are using a tissue to sneeze into, then they should throw it into the dustbin immediately afterward. Washing their hands afterward is also necessary.

Importance of Physical Activity.

Exercising or any type of physical activity is especially important in keeping kids from getting sick at school. Regular exercising helps boost a child's immune system and also helps their bodies to fight off infection.

Be it playing outdoor sports or even indoor activities such as dancing or it can even be a simple activity such as playing tag.

At least 60 minutes of exercise or physical activity is required for children between the ages of 5 to 18 years of age.

Conclusion

Keeping your children safe and healthy is a priority for every parent. The above-discussed priorities can help reduce the chances of your child falling sick when they come into contact with germs at their school.

You should work together with your doctor in order to ensure that your child receives the proper medical care that his/her condition requires.

Pramod Kerkar

Written, Edited or Reviewed By:

, MD,FFARCSI

Pain Assist Inc.

Last Modified On: September 19, 2018

This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer

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