It’s back to school time again. The summer seems to have spun by too fast. Time has flown and it is time for children to return to school, to the predictable rhythm of class, after school activities, sports, homework and friends.
Back to school time can be dangerous for families because of the increased transmission of germs. Students are in contact with hundreds of their peers, touching doors, desks, lockers and sharing supplies, all of which increases the likelihood of getting sick. With the approaching cold and flu season, learning to avoid these behaviors is especially important.
Colds are the most common illness among children, but there are ways to protect your family from catching illnesses that will keep them sick and out of school.
- Hand washing: This is the most effective way to prevent colds. The CDC recommends washing hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds to remove germs. It suggests children hum the “Happy Birthday” song from beginning to end twice before rinsing off their hands.
- Don’t share: All the hand washing in the world won’t make one bit of difference if your children are sharing water bottles on the sports field. Teach children not to put pens in their mouths or share personal items like water bottles and eating utensils.
- Vitamins: Sometimes, we try the best we can yet still come down with a cold. Other preventative measures like adequate sleep, exercise and nutrition help keep the body and immune system functioning properly so that we can better fight the colds in our environment. Returning to school can be a source of stress and anxiety for some children, which compromises their immune system. Sticking to these healthy habits can make a world of a difference.
The same tips that apply to children in the school system apply to us in our daily lives. Healthy habits do more than keep us free from illness, they also ensure we are at our best-rested, best health possible. When we are physically healthy, our mood and mental health is not compromised by stress or illness. Keep these tips in mind and have a happy back to school season!