New Year, New Germs: Keeping School Sick Days Down This Year
An idyllic scene is taking place across the nation.
Parents are packing lunch boxes, tying shoes, kissing foreheads, and waving to their children from the sidewalk as the big yellow bus drives away with this year’s excited students.
However, when you consider the fact that the bus is transporting your children from their clean home environment to a building which houses hundreds of other children and triple that amount of germs, the scene may not seem so heartwarming as sick days threaten to take over the new school year.
“Children gathering in schools is one of the main ways germs circulate in communities,” experts tell us.
Teaching your child to practice healthy habits at school and at home can greatly decrease their chances of contracting illnesses. We’ve got some tips to point you in the right direction!
Germiest Places in School
When you think of the germiest place in the school, you probably think of the bathroom, right? I mean, what could be grimier than a toilet seat?
Turns out, it’s the water fountain.
According to research, the water fountain ranks first for the germiest place in the school. Even toilet seats get disinfected more frequently than the fountain, and the water fountain is a good way for students to welcome lurking germs right into their mouths. Doctors suggest sending your kids to school with their own water bottle, already full of water so they do not have to risk picking up unnecessary germs.
What’s second to the water fountain? Cafeteria trays, especially if they don’t get wiped down well. Trays are handled by students on a daily basis. It’s important that after your student carries their tray to the lunch table, they use hand sanitizer to disinfect their hands before picking up their food.
It’s Not Just Elementary, My Dear
While it’s undeniable that elementary students (famous for touching everything and then putting their hands on their face and in their mouths) are especially vulnerable to germs, older students are almost as likely to become infected — just for different reasons.
Many used to “think the ‘school plague’ was more of an elementary school thing, but with increasing pressure to get good grades, some older students do come to school sick. And that gets others sick.”
If you know your student is ill, make sure you keep them home and request makeup work to alleviate the stress of falling behind.
Fortunately, there are several ways to keep germs at bay. Check out these four small habits that can make a big difference:
1. Wash Hands
Most students aren’t aware of how to properly wash their hands. If your child washes their hands with warm, soapy water for 20 seconds or longer, it will significantly cut their chances of getting the cold or flu, and also decreases gastrointestinal problems.
2. Get Enough Sleep
It’s been proven that students need 9-11 hours of sleep a night to promote healthy brain function and improve focus and drive. Sleep gives the body time to rest and recuperate for a new day. Without enough sleep, the body becomes worn down and more susceptible to infection.
3. Keep a Well-Balanced Diet
It can be tempting for your child to grab easy, on-the-go snacks to eat during the school day. However, these snacks often hold little to no nutritional value. Encourage them to make healthy choices in their eating, as well-balanced meals provide them with the nutrients they need to help fight harmful bacteria.
4. Sharing isn’t Caring
When it comes to school, sharing isn’t caring. Remind your student never to share personal items such as chapstick, makeup, food, and drinks.
Request an Appointment
Your child’s health is our number one priority. Request an appointment today to start off the school year on a healthy foot.