How to Protect Your Kids from Back to School Sickness

Published 08/13 2014 09:14AM

Updated 08/13 2014 12:04PM

KFTA via CNN-- In just a few days, when hundreds of germ-infested kids fill germ-infested schools, they can't help but spread around the common cold and flu. On average, elementary school children get eight to 12 colds or cases of the flu each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Here are some simple ways to keep your kids from catching what's going around.

Germ Zones

One would think the bathrooms would be #1 the germiest place in the school, but actually, it's the water fountain. The bathrooms get cleaned regularly, but the water fountain sometimes doesn't get disinfected as much. Children tend to touch their mouths to the fountain, allowing other kids to directly catch germs into their mouths from the stream of water. One way to prevent this exchange of germs is for the child to run the water for a few seconds before drinking. Or, kids could bring their own bottle of water and avoid the issue completely. 

Another unexpected germ hot-spot is a cafeteria tray. Kids can use hand sanitizer before picking up their food to prevent this spread of germs. 

Staying Healthy

Catching germs isn't always a huge deal for a healthy child. Keeping your child healthy and active is the best fighter of diseases. Getting enough sleep plays a huge role in avoiding illness. Lack of sleep can weaken the immune system, making it significantly easier to catch what's going around. According to the National Sleep Foundation, children aged five to 12 need 10-11 hours of sleep.

Exercise can also help ward off infections. According to the CDC, children need at least one hour of physical activity each day. 

A child's diet is vital to preventing sickness. Foods rich in Vitamin C, like oranges, strawberries, and cantaloupe, can help shorten the length of a child's cold. 

Hand-washing is key to keeping germs away. According to the CDC, the correct way to wash your hands is to scrub with soap for 20 seconds. A good rule of thumb for kids is to sing the "Happy Birthday" song twice while scrubbing. Hand sanitizers are also good for quickly eliminating germs, but may not be as effective if hands are visibly dirty or greasy.

Copyright 2016 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

  • KNWA - Northwest Arkansas News
  • Fox 24 News
  • NWA Weather Authority
  • Razorback Nation
  • KNWA News
  • Fox24 News
  • Razorback Nation
  • KNWA Northwest Arkansas News Mobile App
  • NWA Weather Authority Mobile App
  • Hogville for Sports Mobile App