When school starts, it’s not just homework that young students can bring home. They can also bring germs and disease.
School-aged children average five or six colds a year, whereas adolescents average approximately four. Part of that is because of how easily germs can be spread through a school. Touching an object that has been contaminated, then touching their eyes, nose or mouth is a quick way that many children end up sick. The spread of germs can be avoided, however, by following a few simple tips.
First and foremost, make sure you practice good hand hygiene. Simply washing your hands is the most effective way to prevent the spread of colds, the flu and viruses. You should wash your hands after using the bathroom, blowing your nose, handling trash, touching animals and prior to touching food. Just 20 seconds of soap and water can wash away most germs, and using alcohol-based hand cleaners can also work.
Consider buying an alcohol-based hand cleanser for your child’s classroom – it could be put right next to the tissue box. For college students, pack some Clorox wipes so they can wipe bathroom surfaces quickly.
Boosting your immune system can also increase your resistance to illness. Poor nutrition and not getting enough rest – common problems, especially for college students – can weaken your immune system. Instead, eat fruits and vegetables and make sure you stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water.
Exercise is also good for your immune system. It will reduce anxiety, stress and help you sleep better. It also gives you a higher energy level, which promotes better concentration.
And finally, stay home if you’re sick. Taking the day off is not only important for your own recovery, but it can prevent the spread of disease and keep your classmates from falling sick as well. A rule of thumb is to stay home until you have been symptom-free for 24 hours.