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Simple ways to defend a student's health

Elaina is a Phoenix-based freelance writer, blogger and co-founder of the Kidlee baby book app. Check out her blog, Fun Finds For Mom, for product reviews, recipes and fun activities for moms and kids.

Fight germs at school

From the moment a new baby is conceived, it's completely understandable for parents to be concerned – okay maybe a little obsessed – with their little one's well-being. We can shelter our kids for a while, but once they hit school age, there's no way to protect them from the nasty germ-filled world. Or is there? Here are some steps parents can take to help keep their kids healthy at school.

friends at school

The germy facts

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.

Talk to the school

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.

Organize donations

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.

Review healthy habits with kids

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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