As most moms know, back to school means a lot of different things. Busier schedules, homework, fall sports, a whole new set of after school activities, and, of course, back to school bugs.
Frankly it almost seems inevitable that, no matter how old a child is, they always seem to catch some kind of illness within the first few weeks of school.
Now, before anyone gets crazy here I am not saying that school makes kids sick! I am, however, saying that it seems like the change in seasons, the change in schedules and even the change in scenery all seem to contribute to an almost inescapable case of something.
Take, for example, my friend Colleen. Her daughter started the first grade less than a week ago and was already sidelined with a case of the stomach bug over Labor Day weekend. Was anyone in particular at fault? Of course not. It is just a reminder of what teachers and moms know all too well. One little germ and one classroom full of kids and no real good can come of the situation.
In the winter of 2011, I had a chance to sit down with Maureen Travis, the school nurse at Wilmington’s West Intermediate School for a little advice on keeping kids healthy and, frankly, now seems as good a time as any to revisit some of the advice she shared.
First and foremost on her list was some pretty simple advice, get a flu shot.
“It’s hard to believe,” she said, “but people do still die from the flu.”
Eating, sleeping and drinking are keys to staying healthy. Plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, lots of water and adequate amounts of sleep are all keys in the battle against germs. We all lead hectic lives but the harder we as moms work to manage keep our kids well fed and rested the better off we all we be.
Hand washing is yet another tool in the battle against germs and teaching kids the right way to wash can make all the difference in the world.
“Proper hand washing is the best way to prevent the spread of germs,” said Travis. “Because we touch everything.” Contrary to popular belief Mrs. Travis explained, “It’s not how hot the water is or how much soap you use but the constant friction of rubbing your hands for at least thirty seconds that makes a difference.”
Finally, using common sense when kids are sick can make a huge difference when it comes to spreading germs. According to Wilmington School system as well as most other local policies, “Some illnesses requiring exclusion from school are Vomiting or Diarrhea, Fever of 100 or above, Conjunctivitis, Strep Infection, Flu, Impetigo, Head Lice and Chicken Pox.”
In addition, “Students returning to school after an illness must be Fever Free, Symptom free and/or on Antibiotics for 24 hours.”
We all know that with today’s hectic schedules its not always easy to keep kids home from school but keeping the germs contained is a huge step in the battle to keep classrooms healthy.
A little cooperation and a bit of planning can truly make back to school a happy and healthy time for everyone.