It’s that time of the year when coughs and runny noses are prevalent in schools, and remembering to wash your hands has never been more important. Schools are naturally close-contact environments, and as such the flu and other illnesses can quickly spread throughout the halls. It’s important for parents and students alike to understand how to stay healthy during the flu season.

washing hands

Make sure children wash their hands properly and frequently.
Image: Shutterstock

Viruses, which spread quickly, are the culprit for colds and most childhood illnesses. Since viruses are tricky to combat once you contract it, it’s important to understand how to prevent catching one. Colds are spread from coughs, sneezes, and touching anything and everything after not washing your hands. And let’s face it: kids will touch anything AND everything, more often than not also putting their fingers in their mouths or touching their faces.

This is why it’s important to get your young students to develop good habits at a young age, like washing their hands frequently. Washing your hands is one of the most effective ways to remain healthy in school. You also need to make sure the hands are sufficiently clean. My mother used to make me sing “The Alphabet Song” while I washed my hands to ensure cleanliness.

Make sure your son or daughter knows to cover his or her mouth when sneezing, coughing, etc. Airborne viruses spread easily through the air, and coughing into a tissue may mean keeping the virus from infecting the rest of the class. Also try to keep hands and fingers away from the eyes and mouth. The membranes in these orifices are extremely susceptible to viruses, and nothing is worse than getting a cold that turns into an eye infection. (Those eye drops are the WORST.)

Lastly, make sure your child isn’t sharing utensils, snacks, water glasses or any other personal items for that matter with any other students. Anything that can potentially come in contact with your mouth should be kept to yourself.  Also, it helps others stay healthy if you alert other parents of students when your child comes down with an illness. Canceling those play dates, sleepovers and after-school activities will help contain the illness and keep everyone healthy.

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