A 2010 study conducted by scientists from the University of Arizona confirmed what many parents and teachers already knew. Our schools are literally crawling with germs. From cafeteria tables to computer mice (and don't get us started on bathroom surfaces), virus-causing bugs are everywhere. Don't freak out. Take a deep breath and remember — knowledge is power.
So what can you do? For starters, get involved at your child's school. Volunteer in the classroom and take note of whether or not teachers are reminding kids to cough and sneeze into their elbow. Find out if the kids are washing hands or at least getting a squirt of hand sanitizer before eating. Talk to your school principal or your kids' teachers and find out how often desks, computers and pencil sharpeners are wiped down. If you don't like what you see, go ahead and make suggestions on germ-fighting changes.
In many cases, schools have the best intentions, but lack the funds for adequate germ-fighting supplies. The sanitizing wipes parents bring in at the beginning of the year are usually consumed pretty quickly. Ask your child's teacher if you can contact parents in the classroom and organize a schedule for donations. When it comes to keeping their kids healthy, most parents are happy to help by sending in a few packages of disinfecting wipes.
Even the most involved parents can't be watching over their kids' shoulders 24/7. Make sure your kids are practicing healthy habits even when you're not around. Talk to them about the importance of washing hands before eating, after going to the bathroom, and after blowing their nose, coughing or sneezing. Remind them to cough or sneeze into their elbow, not to touch their eyes, nose and mouth. Teach them about making healthy food choices and drinking plenty of water. Your kids may not be able to avoid every virus that goes around, but you'll be establishing healthy habits for life.
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