How to Keep Kids Healthy at School
Any time kids are placed into rooms together, there is bound to be sickness. Germs – both bacteria and viruses – spread.
From the moment they walk into a classroom, children (and teachers) are besieged.
Still, steps can be taken to help keep children from getting sick at school.
Germs spread by direct contact from student to student and sometimes by the touching of contaminated surfaces.
Some germs spread through the air at close range or from farther away. One child can spread an illness in these ways to multiple classmates.
One of the most basic ways to prevent the spread of illness is to keep a contagious child home from school.
Those who should stay home include kids who vomit two or more times in 24 hours from an illness, or those who have diarrhea with blood or mucus in it.
Children with fevers from an illness (most schools use 100 degrees Fahrenheit or more) should usually stay home until fever-free for 24 hours.
Those with illnesses causing mouth sores with drooling, impetigo (until after 24 hours of treatment) and scabies (until treated) should also stay home from school.
Food and other items that go in the mouth should not be shared between students.
The nose and mouth should be covered with a tissue or the crook of the elbow when coughing or sneezing.
Washing the hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water is a cheap and effective way to help keep from getting sick.
This should be done after using the toilet, blowing the nose, playing outside and before eating.
This helps keep germs on the hands from getting into the body through the eyes, nose or mouth.
If soap and water are not readily available, hand sanitizers with at least 60% alcohol can be used.
Hand sanitizers can be applied after touching community items such as computers and pencil sharpeners.
Surfaces in the classroom can be disinfected with wipes or designated cleaners. This can destroy germs where they tend to lie in wait.
Getting all recommended immunizations – including a a yearly influenza vaccine – can also help children stay healthy.
Eating healthy, including lots of fruits and vegetables, can bolster children’s immune systems so they can fight off germs.
Getting plenty of sleep also helps strengthen our natural defenses against the germs that lurk in the classroom.