Ah, back-to-school time. A time for new teachers, fresh paper and pencils, and cool new clothes. A time for learning new things and meeting new friends. It’s also a time for an outbreak of respiratory and virus-related illnesses among schoolchildren. Within the first few weeks of school, many schoolchildren will develop a cold or other types of respiratory illness, which often leads to a trigger of asthma symptoms for kids who suffer from the condition. One statistic indicates school-aged children get an average of 8 to 10 colds each year. Another statistic claims more than 22 million school days are missed due to a cold.
Why does the start of school initiate an outbreak of sickness among kids? Well, more than one culprit complicates the issues.
Causes of Back-to-School Illnesses
Respiratory illnesses in schoolchildren are often linked back to exposure to a new environment and its triggers like dust mites, mold and chemicals. Viruses like the cold virus are spread through close contact, which increases in schoolchildren through the sharing of desks, water fountains and lunchtime beverages. Good hygiene practice, like regularly washing hands, also decreases as kids adjust to new schedules and classroom settings.
There’s no sure way to prevent your child from getting sick when back-to-school illnesses erupt, but implementing a few simple but key practices can reduce their chances of getting sick. Make the following tips part of your new back-to-school routine to help your kids stay well.
- Encourage good hygiene practices, especially regular handwashing. Implore your kids to wash their hands in between classes, after every trip to the bathroom and before eating or drinking.
- Teach your kids to refrain from touching their mouth, eyes or nose with unwashed hands.
- Discourage sharing drinks and food with classmates, and send bottled water to decrease trips to the water fountain.
- Teach them to avoid close contact with sick classmates.
- Implement a nutritious diet filled with fruits and veggies to boost your children’s immune system and keep them feeling healthy.
- Make sure your kids get plenty of sleep and exercise. Both are linked to healthier immune systems and increased focus and a better overall well-being in all people, including children.
- Help reduce back-to-school stress, which can affect your child’s immune system, by encouraging your kids to study each night to avoid last minute cram sessions, implementing the previously mentioned practices and staying active in what’s going on in your child’s school life.
- Get your children flu vaccines at the end of October.
- Keep your kids at home if they do get sick to prevent the spread of illness in their classmates.
Have your kids had their yearly wellness checkup? If not, now is the time to schedule their appointment with EliteCare. Give us a call to request their appointment today.