Back to School Means Back to Sick

It’s no secret that having school-age children is hard on your health. As we shop for new backpacks, pencils and that special “first day” outfit, don’t forget to buy some hand sanitizer. Back to school also means back to sick days. Can anything be done?

Schools are hotbeds for germs. Packing children so close together, many of them sent to school even though they are sniffling, sneezing or even feverish, can only result in a smorgasbord of illnesses. Every surface is touched by dozens of unwashed hands, sneezed on and sometimes used as a tissue. It’s a miracle that anyone gets out alive!

Countermeasures are few. The best defense is cleanliness. That means a lot of hand washing. Plus, lots of hand sanitizer when the sink is just too far away.  The germs are unavoidable, so getting them off your hands before they can get inside your body is your only hope.

There are a few especially dangerous areas. Not too surprisingly, those water fountains scattered around the school are a problem. The germs from that flushed-looking kid who was in the front of the line can move directly into the mouths of everyone who follows. Your best strategy? Bring a water bottle and DON’T SHARE IT!

Teach your child to be careful around anything that gets warm and wet, and then gets touched. Consider the threat posed by the innocent-looking cafeteria tray. Rarely sanitized, it is warm, wet and in intimate contact with the same hands that will next pick up those chicken nuggets. Countermeasures? Your best bet is a small bottle of hand sanitizer to use between tray carrying and food eating. Adds a special dash of flavor to those nuggets, too.

Can you make it through Back to School season without a bout of the flu? Can you convince your first grader to wash and sanitize repeatedly? Better to have chapped hands than a fever!

Good luck, parents.

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