It’s almost inevitable: as soon as your children are back in school and surrounded by children their own age for the first time since the early summer, someone is bound to come down with a cold, flu or other bug. Soon it will make its way through your home, leaving at least one member of your family sick for the next couple of weeks and your kids behind schedule with their school work, requiring make-up tests, extra credit projects and homework galore. While some illnesses can’t be completely prevented, you can talk to your child about ways to stay healthy to prevent spreading germs.

Make sure everyone washes their hands thoroughly and frequently

Between art projects and playing outside, you know that your child is going to touch things and get dirty. Certain surfaces like door handles, railings and shared school supplies can be a hotbed for germs and diseases that can spread if your child touches their eyes, nose or mouth without washing their hands first. You should also make sure your child knows to wash their hands with hot water and soap before eating and after using the restroom or sneezing. If your child is just learning how to wash their hands, have them sing the ABC song or Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star while scrubbing to teach them the best timing for full disinfection.

Teach your child to keep their hands and fingers out of their mouth or nose

In addition to touching everything as they develop and get to know their surroundings, your child may be inclined to keep their fingers near their mouth and nose. Teaching them to break this habit, especially if they start biting their nails, can help keep them healthier and reduces the germs on their hands as they move through their day. If they have their hands near their mouth or nose, have them wash their hands to disinfect their fingers.

Teach your child to cover their nose and mouth when sneezing or coughing

Many viruses spread through moisture sent through the air by sneezing or coughing. Your child may not know instinctively to cover their mouth or nose when they cough or sneeze, which can leave anyone within radius vulnerable to breathe in the virus. As soon as they are able, teach them to use a tissue when blowing their nose or sneezing, and to use the “vampire method” of coughing by covering their mouth with their elbow.

If your child gets sick, visit AFC Urgent Care Hillsdale for treatment! Call 201-523-9222 for more information.