Unlike students returning to school, germs don’t have classroom assignments. They’re known to spread in lots of ways, especially during cold and flu season.
To help keep your family well in the coming weeks that often bring coughs and sniffles, Hurley Medical Center offers a few recommendations.
“Prevention is paramount when it comes to infectious diseases, such as influenza and even the common cold. First and foremost, obtaining the appropriate flu shot for your family members,” says Danielle Campbell, Hurley’s community wellness manager. “The flu shot is effective for the entire flu season and protects you with immunity from the viruses.”
Experts recommend a few simple tips and tricks.
For younger students, memory minders help. Teach them simple phrases to help them become germ fighters:
Wash when you flush or touch: Handwashing is the best way to stop germs from spreading.
Cover your cough: Use a tissue to cover your face when you sneeze or cough, or sneeze/cough into your elbow.
Sharing is not always caring: Toys should be shared, but germs shouldn’t. Help your kids understand that sharing straws, cups, food, silverware (forks, spoons, etc.) spreads germs.
Hands off: Keep your hands away from your eyes, nose and mouth, which are the “doorway’ that germs use to get into our bodies.
Experts at the CDC recommend that parents make sure their kids get a good night’s sleep, regular exercise and plenty of healthy nutrients, particularly during flu season.
Keeping kids healthy and in the classroom is important, according to Tricia Hill, Executive Director of Countywide Programs at the Genesee Intermediate School District, who knows that parents often struggle with the decision of when to keep their child home during cold and flu season.
“If a student has a fever, diaherra or has been vomitting they should stay home from school,” says Hill. “If they have not thrown up, had diaherra or a fever for 24 hours, they can return to the school. If in doubt, parents should contact their child’s doctor or the school office for guidance.”
If your child does get sick, a few simple tips can help ease their recovery, according to Cambell.
“If you or your child gets sick drink plenty of fluids and rest,” says Campbell, who explains this can help your body fight the virus and avoid spreading illness to others.
Sipping hot soothing liquids like chicken soup, tea and other beverages help ease achy throats, reducing the sinus mucus that causes congestion.
Age-appropriate over-the-counter medications can help too, according to Campbell
“Most viral infections last from several days to two weeks, therefore proper precautions and treatment can make you more comfortable and help to keep others from getting ill,” says Campbell.