Along with cold temperatures and snow days, the winter months also bring germs, viruses and bacteria into schools. According to the CDC, Elementary School children get an average of eight to twelve cold/flu viruses every year. Some of the most common causes for sick days are: Cold & Flu, Pinkeye (Conjunctivitis), Strep Throat and the Stomach Flu (Influenza). Since putting your child in a protective bubble isn’t really a practical option, here are a few ways to help keep them healthy this winter season.
- Good Hand Hygiene: Encourage your child to wash their hands before lunch or snack time and after recess or shared play time. It is also a good idea to send them to school with hand sanitizer, for the times when hand washing isn’t an option.
- Healthy Lifestyle: Getting at least 10 hours of sleep, eating healthy and drinking water all aid in children building a strong immune system to help fight off germs and avoid getting sick.
- Avoid ‘Germ Havens’: Drinking fountains, bathroom fixtures, tech surfaces and cafeterias trays are some of the germiest places in schools. Sending your child to school with their own water bottle and lunch not only encourages healthy habits, but it also means they don’t have to come in contact with germs found on the drinking fountain or lunch trays.
Following the steps listed above won’t guarantee your child stay’s healthy this winter, but it will reduce the chances of them getting sick. If your child does get sick, help keep their teachers and classmates healthy by keeping them home from school.