Discover ways to eliminate the microbes kids are bringing home from school

Kids and germs are like the peas and carrots of family life — they go together perfectly. But something as simple as frequent, effective hand washing can help prevent many germs and diseases in adults and children alike.

Before you send the kids back to school, take a few minutes to review the importance of handwashing. If you’re not averse to glitter, sprinkle a little on your child’s hands and have them spread it over their palms. Designate an area you don’t mind getting glittery and have your child touch a variety of objects. Then explain the glitter they leave behind is similar to how germs spread.

Work with your kids on proper handwashing basics. Use warm water and antibacterial soap for 30 seconds. Try having them sing the alphabet to ensure their hands are washed thoroughly. If soap and water aren’t available, use antibacterial hand sanitizer.

Ensuring your children are eating healthy and getting enough sleep may also help their immune systems fight off potentially harmful conditions. Vitamin C from foods (bell pepper), fruits (any citrus) or supplements can help boost immune system function. Eating five varied servings of fruits and vegetables per day provides more than 200 mg of vitamin C.

Example:

Orange juice

¾ cup

93mg Vitamin C

 

Kiwi

1 medium

63mg Vitamin C

 

Strawberries

½ cup, sliced

49mg Vitamin C

The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for vitamin C

 Age                    Amount

0-6 months         40mg

7-12 months       50mg

1-3 years            15mg

4-8 years            25mg

9-13 years          45mg

Source: National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements

 Here are a few other tips and reminders the whole family can use to help keep germs at bay:

Not too close

Avoid having close contact with people who are sick and when you are sick, keep your distance from others.

Stay home when sick

If possible, stay home from work/school. Use the 24-hour rule: Stay home if you’ve had fever within the last 24 hours.

 Keep it covered

Use a tissue to cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue away and wash your hands. If a tissue is not available, cover your nose and mouth with your sleeve or arm, not your hands.

Hands off

Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth when you are ill to help prevent spreading germs.

Wipe it down

Clean and disinfect surface areas at home, work and school.