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School May Be Hazardous to Children’s Health! Part I

Now that school’s back in session, the rapid spread of germs is once again a concern. Just this week a serious respiratory virus has been in the news for infecting children across the country. When it comes to the problem of germs in our schools, we can’t send our children to classes in hazmat suites, but there are several things we can do to help protect them and keep them healthy.

First, it is important to educate children about germs and their potential dangers. The goal is not to scare them, of course, but to teach them to be aware of areas where germs might be lurking and how to neutralize their power to spread illnesses. This is especially important in schools because children are often in close contact with one another and are touching the same surfaces throughout the day. And though they may be handling the same books, pens, and lockers, the two biggest culprits for spreading nasty germs in schools are water fountains and cafeteria trays.

Children who bring their own water to school eliminate the risks associated with drinking from a water fountain. But even children with their own water will probably use the drinking fountains from time to time, and they should be taught the proper way to drink from them— to let the water run for two seconds before taking that first sip and to never, ever put their mouths directly on the spigot.

When it comes to dirty lunch trays or other germ promoting surfaces, the best thing children can do to protect themselves is to wash their hands. That doesn’t mean taking a dab of soap, splashing on a bit of water, and calling it a day! Hands need to be washed thoroughly with a good dose of soap and rinsed well with plenty of water. Washing should include the backs of hands, between the fingers, and under the nails and should last at least 20 seconds. That’s about as long as it takes to sing the “Happy Birthday” song twice through from beginning to end.

Children should also have a supply of antibacterial wipes or a hand sanitizer to use when there is no soap or running water available. A bright box or container in a lunch box is a handy place to carry them and will help to remind them to wash before they eat. If the overuse of antibacterial products is a concern, there are plenty of recipes available for “green” wipes and washes.

Just following these few tips could make a real difference, but for even more ideas be sure to talk to the professionals at Hillcrest Medical where your family’s health and safety is their number one concern!

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