Back to school season is upon us and I’m quite sure parents across the city aren’t too excited about all the germs their kids are going to be bringing back home this September.
In fact, a sick child is the last thing that you will want to be worrying about at this very hectic time of year.
Unfortunately, school aged children are afflicted with the common cold much more frequently than adults, due partly to their developing immune systems but also the sheer amount of germs they are exposed to in the school setting.
With so much humanity flowing through them and the generally weak hygiene habits that kids tend to have, schools are full of what are known as “germ hot spots”, which area simply areas of concentrated exposure to the microorganisms that cause the common cold.
In today’s article, you will learn four key steps you can take to ensure their homework is the only thing that your child brings home with them from school this September.
- Have them bring their own water bottle: Water fountains are considered one of the most notorious school hot spots due to the fact they are not cleaned as frequently and may involve direct mouth contact to the fountain. The solution is having your child bring their own bottle, and refrain from sharing it with other kids.
- Get them to bed early: When it comes to sleep, 9-10 hours should be the minimum allotted. Adequate sleep is incredibly important for a child’s immune system and can play a role in improving their ability to fight off sickness, among the numerous other benefits sleep confers.
- Teach proper hand washing: Preventing the spread of germs is, quite literally, in your child’s hands. Handwashing works, as long as you do it correctly. Your child should be taught to lather thoroughly and sing a song or tune around the length of Happy Birthday while scrubbing. The most important times to hand wash are before meals and after using the washroom. Using a towel (or even sleeve) to close the water and open the washroom door are good habits as well. Older children (above the age of 6) who understand how to use it, may also be entrusted with portable hand sanitizer.
- Teach good hand hygiene: Beyond handwashing, it’s important to recognize that teaching children to keep their hands away from their eyes, nose and mouth (including nail biting) will go a long way to preventing germs from entering your child’s body.
- Serve them plenty of fruits and veggies: As a dietitian I can safely say that many Canadian kids do not meet their requirements for fruit and vegetable consumption ( 5 to 8 servings a day, depending on age and gender). This food group is critical to the overall of health and development of your child and fostering a strong immune system which will help them fight back against the common cold.
- Install a whole home air purifier and humidifier combo: While it can be hard to combat the germs your children encounter outside of the home, take heart in knowing that you can take action at home. The combination of an air purifier and humidifier attached to your existing HVAC system can help remove germs and allergens from your home, while reducing symptoms of respiratory illness. Connect with local HVAC experts in your area to learn more about what adding an air purifier and humidifier combo can do for your home health.