How To Prevent The ‘Back To School Plague’

by | September 18, 2018

It’s back to school time and that means your kids are going to be exposed to all kinds of germs.

Elementary kids can get up to eight respiratory infections during the school year. Hand-washing, keeping hands to yourself, regular exercise, a healthy diet, and sleep are vital to staying healthy.

Julie Miller, a first-grade teacher is exposed to a horrifying number of germs every day.

“I’ve been thrown up on; they sneeze and cough on me. And lost teeth are a really big thing for first-graders,” said Miller, who has worked at Spring Hills Elementary Chicago for 25 years. She’s already had a couple kids get sick in her classroom, even though it’s only time to go back to school now.

“They’re so cute and unaware, though. They’ll have boogers hanging out of their nose and will be talking to you and not think anything of it. Some teachers flip out, but I tell my students, ‘Go get a Kleenex and wash your hands.’ When they sneeze, I teach them to do it into their elbows. They learn eventually.”

On average, elementary school children get six to eight colds each school year, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine. For high school kids, it’s about half that. Both groups are at high risk for the flu. Teachers and parents commonly refer to this cold and flu phenomenon as the “back to school plague.”

Here are some simple tips for keeping your little darlings healthy.

Teach Your Child About Proper Hand Washing

Hand washing is one of the most important ways we can prevent the spread of illness in the classroom and elsewhere. By teaching your child how to wash her hands properly—and to especially always wash after blowing her nose, using the bathroom and before eating—you can help her reduce the risk of getting sick, and keep her from spreading germs to others if she does get sick.

Boost Your Family’s Immune System Health

Keeping your child’s immune system strong is a vital way to stay healthy and stave off illness during the school year. Getting enough sleep, eating a healthy diet, managing stress, exercising, making time to laugh, and plenty of hand washing can help reduce your child’s risk of getting colds, flu, and other infections.

Teach Your Child Healthy Habits to Prevent Cold and Flu

Does your child know the important healthy habits to prevent colds, flu, and other infections? Healthy habits such as remembering not to keep touching his eyes or refraining from sharing cups and utensils with friends are important to learn.

Set Good Sleep Habits

Making sure your child gets enough sleep is a crucial part of keeping her healthy. Sleep is important not only for a child’s physical and emotional health but it can play an important role in how well she does in school, too.

Be on the Lookout for Anxiety or Stress in Your Child

Stomach aches can sometimes be a sign of stress and anxiety in kids. Homework, tests, social pressures—kids can face a lot of stressful situations every day. Research shows that stress and anxiety can have a negative impact on kids’ health, just like it can on the health of adults. Find out how to spot the symptoms of stress in your child and find ways to manage his anxiety.

Give Your Child a Brain-Boosting Healthy Breakfast

Breakfast really is the most important meal of the day when it comes to school kids. A balanced breakfast of low-fat protein and complex carbohydrates has been shown to be important for brain function as well as for maintaining a steady level of energy throughout the day.

How do you prevent the dreaded ‘back to school plague’? Let us know in the comments!

back to school


Julie Nealon

Associate Editor, New York USA | Contactable via [email protected]


Categories: Parenting


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