School is several things—it is the place where our children learn and develop cognitively, gain social skills, thrive to become self-sufficient and productive members of society. Nevertheless, it can also, occasionally, be a place where they may pick up germs and bring them home. Now that school is in session, children can bring back home a `horde` of nasty germs. 

 

Children spend a lot of time together in classrooms, with lots of activities that bring them in close proximity. Viruses and bacteria are the prime suspects behind many childhood illnesses, especially during school age. All it takes is a single child to bring a germ to class for the spread to commence. By teaching our children some essential healthy habits, we can help make health at school a priority during the academic year. Here are three precious tips on how to keep your child healthy:

 

1) HANDWASHING COUNTS: Teach your child about proper handwashing

 

Hand washing is one of the fundamental tools for preventing the spread of germs everywhere, including classrooms. By teaching your child how to wash his hands properly—especially after blowing his nose, using the bathroom, and when he is about to sit down for his lunch snack—you not only help him reduce the risk of getting sick, but also keep him from passing on the illness to others if he catches an infection. But here comes a tricky question: Is your child washing his hands correctly? Well, it may seem like a basic chore, but even basic things have to be taught appropriately sometimes.

 

As per the recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, teach your child to wash his hands thoroughly for at least 20 seconds with clean, running water and soap. He should lather his hands (front and back) by rubbing them together and making sure that he does the same between the fingers and at fingertips. After rinsing his hands under the running water, he should use a paper towel or an air dryer to dry his hands. If no running water is available, an alcohol-based hand sanitizer can be used instead. Bear in mind that these products are not efficient in eliminating dirt —water and soap represent the ideal option.

 

Your child will learn best when you talk to him about:

 

When it is proper:

Your youngster might not necessarily realize when he should be using the sink, especially during the school day. Necessary information does not have to be inherently recognized; it has to be taught.

 

Why it is proper:

What can be evident for you might represent the unknown for him. Necessarily, explain how handwashing helps remove germs that can make him sick.

 

How it is proper:

Accompany your child to the bathroom and meticulously show him how hand washing can be done properly. Teach by example!

 

2) COVER IT PLEASE: Teach your child about covering his face on coughing or sneezing

 

Just imagine this frequent scenario — a child who has cold sneezes or coughs during the class and here we go: The virus is in the air! Fellow students sitting nearby may inhale the infected respiratory droplets and the cold spreads.

 

Children cough and sneeze everywhere. It is crucial for your child's health -and others- to learn to cover his cough or sneeze. Make sure you teach him to use a tissue to cover his face. If no tissue is handy, he may use his sleeve (but not his hands!) to cover his face. If you notice that your child is about to cough or sneeze, you can always remind him “Cover your mouth with your sleeve”. It might take some time, so do not worry and keep reminding him. But when your child does it spontaneously, recognize the achievement and praise him by saying “I saw you covering your face when you sneezed! Well done!”.

 

Some children cover their face with their hands upon sneezing or coughing, and then they move around touching everything (doorknobs, books, desks, toys, etc.). This act virtually makes everyone in the classroom a victim for a potential cold virus.

 

3) IT IS PERSONAL: Teach your child not to share his personal items

 

“Sharing is caring” is a commonly-hailed motto worldwide! But this does not necessarily apply to everything. If you want to decrease your child's propensity to catch a cold or something much more serious, one good way is to teach him to keep his items personal. Items such as earphones, musical instruments, towels, sporting gear, and of course, water bottles should not be shared among classmates to minimize the risks of infection spread.

 

We wish your splendid child a successful, thriving, and healthy academic year.

 

The Department of Paediatrics

 THE DUBAI LONDON CLINIC AND SPECIALITY HOSPITAL

Categorypediatrician

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