With school just around the corner, learn how to help your kids avoid illness
Written by Taylor Smith | Healthy Magazine
According to the Centers for Disease Control, the average elementary school child gets eight to twelve colds or cases of the flu each school year. Why? Because schools happen to be a breeding ground for disease and younger children take very little heed of proper hygiene practices. That’s a pretty potent combination, but with a little educating, kids can be better prepared to avoid the germiest places in school and stay healthy.
Most experts advise kids to bring some hand sanitizer to lunch. It’s not a bad idea considering that cafeteria trays rarely get wiped off or sanitized between meals. With all kinds of exposure to different kinds of food and hands, cafeteria trays can come to play host to some serious germs. In any case, kids should wash their hands before (and maybe even after) they eat.
This one comes as no surprise—this is where kids spend most of the day, constantly imparting of their coughs, sneezes and any other shudder-worthy bodily fluids you can think of. And because parents are just so lucky, kids spend all day touching their desks and then transport all those lovely germs to mom and dad at home!
Playground equipment is like…well, a playground for germs. Monkey bars, the teeter totter, the slide, you name it, it’s got some nasty germs on it. Playground equipment is rarely if ever sanitized, so tough germs like the flu and colds can stick around for a while. After playing outside, washing hands is not a bad idea simply because of the dirt and such, but it’s an even better idea once you consider the germs.
Contrary to popular belief, the bathroom is not the germ haven we sometimes think it is. The doors, on the other hand, can be quite the germ sanctuary. The inside of the bathroom gets cleaned regularly, but because lots of kids don’t wash their hands after using the bathroom like they should, the doors can end up pretty gross. Once again, washing hands goes a long way.
This one might be the scariest. It gets cleaned even less than bathroom doors and many kids are sticking their mouths right on the spout. Add on the fact that these get used hundreds of times throughout the day and you’ve got a recipe for a germ cocktail. Your best bet to minimize germ exposure is to teach your kids to not place their mouths on the drinking fountain fixtures.
The bottom line is that kids are exposed to a lot of germs. Any little bit can help prevent infection, however, so make sure your kids understand how important it is to wash their hands and stay as clean as possible.