Back to school doesn’t have to mean back to coughs and Kleenexes

It’s been just over a month since the kids have been back at school.  Have your kids had to miss any days so far due to an infectious illness?  With cold and flu season right around the corner, it’s a good time to think about stopping those infections before they start.  After all, your aspiring scientist needs a good attendance record at school to help keep those grades up!

As a parent, here are some easy things you can do to help reduce the number of infections at your children’s school (and prevent your kids from bringing home germs!):

  • Immunize your kids against infectious illnesses for which specific vaccines are available.
  • Teach your kids proper hand hygiene and how to keep themselves healthy.
  • Send your kids to school with food that has been handled and prepared safely, and with clean water bottles to prevent food or water borne illnesses such as Salmonella, or E coli.
  • Remind your kids to always wash their hands with soap and water after using the washroom.  Viruses that cause winter vomiting and diarrhoea such as noroviruses, can be easily picked up in a shared washroom.  Noroviruses are very common and they have caused many unpleasant outbreaks in schools and daycares.
  • Remind your kids to always wash their hands before eating. Many viruses and bacteria cannot affect us if they do not enter our gastrointestinal system. When we eat with unwashed hands, we wind up swallowing those germs we picked up by touching all kinds of surfaces.
  • In special occasions, such as field trips, visits to petting zoos etc., when soap and water is not available, they can use moist hand wipes to clean hands. Just note that hand sanitizer is effective ONLY if hands are visibly clean. Tell your kids to apply enough and rub the sanitizer on their hands for at least 15 seconds.

It is also a good idea to keep your child home when he/she is not feeling well.  Colds and flu spread easily, and your little one could really use a little extra TLC while they recover at home. Check out these sites to help you figure out how to care for your child and when to take them to the doctor:

Let’s keep those kids healthy and hopefully they won’t have to miss a single day because of an infection this year at school!

Share your experience:

For more tips and hints about preventing infections at school or daycare, or to share your experience, there are many ways you can talk to one of us directly:

  • Leave us a comment below – we’d love your feedback
  • Talk to us on Twitter: @haltonparents
  • Email us at haltonparents@halton.ca
  • Dial 311 or 905-825-6000 for parenting information or to speak directly to a Public Health Nurse every Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

About this guest blogger:

Lucia Salagean is a Public Health Inspector and Specialist in Infection Control. She has worked for the Halton Region Health Department, Health Protection Services since the year 2000.  She has experience in health care overseas, pediatrics and parenting. She enjoys spending time with her family and is the proud mother of two wonderful sons who are now Engineers.

This entry was posted in Physical Health, Preschool, School, school health, School-aged Children, Teens and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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