School days, school days. They shouldn’t all be cold and flu days! Frequent hand washing, proper vaccination, and cleaning and disinfecting surfaces are important strategies to keep students and teachers healthy. Make sure every school year is productive and healthy by following some key infection prevention tips.
According to the CDC, 40 percent of children aged 5-17 missed three or more school days in the past year because of illness or injury. Overall, nearly 22 million school days are lost each year due to colds alone, and 38 million school days are lost due as a result of the flu.
To stay healthy, teachers and administrators should:
- Ask sick students and staff to stay home (and to seek medical attention when necesssary).
- Keep a supply of alcohol-based hand sanitizer and sanitizing wipes.
- Teach good hand washing practices.
- Clean and disinfect classroom materials and surfaces.
- Provide reminders in daily announcements about preventing the spread of germs and illnesses.
- Adopt healthy practices, such as safe handling of food and the use of standard precautions when handling body fluids and excretions.
- Encourage students and staff to get an annual flu shot.
To stay healthy, parents should:
- Keep your children home, if they are sick.
- Send your child in with tissues and wipes for the classroom.
- Teach your children to wash their hands.
Not all “bugs” shared at school are germs.
Head lice, which are parasitic insects that survive by feeding on human blood, are commonly spread in schools and summer camps. Lice can be found on people’s heads and bodies. Head lice are most commonly spread through person-to person contact, but can also be spread by sharing combs, brushes, and other personal items.