In most areas of the United States, kids are back in school and the weather is getting cooler. As a parent, you know that schooldays and chilly temperatures are a risky combination and can lead to a frustrating time of year: cold season. According to WebMD, your child will get as many as 6 to 10 colds this year. And although the cold symptoms only last one week, your child could be contagious for up to three weeks (source). That’s plenty of time for germs to be passed on to siblings and other family members through backpacks, textbooks, and other classroom materials. Preventing the spread of germs from school to home is the best way to defend yourself and your family from repeat respiratory illnesses as cold season and flu season approach.
Preventing the Spread of Germs
The gathering of children in schools is one of the main ways germs circulate throughout families and communities (source). This is because children are in close contact with their peers, they are more susceptible to germs, and they tend to have more “germy” habits, such as sticking fingers and objects into their mouths. As a parent, you can help prevent the spread of germs from school to home by instating the following healthy habits:
Encourage Frequent Hand Washing
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), frequent hand washing is the number one way to control germs and help prevent colds, influenzas, and other contagious illnesses. Encourage your child to get in the habit of hand washing frequently, before eating and after group activities, playtime, and using the restroom.
Make sure your child knows how to wash his or her hands the right way. Have them use soap and warm water, and lather both hands to the wrists. Emphasize the importance of rinsing and drying thoroughly. And when soap and water is not available, ask your child to use a gentle, foaming hand sanitizer, like SafeSpace Alcohol-Free Instant Hand Sanitizer. Products like this one can help extend protection even after the product has dried. Hand sanitizer can also be used after hand washing for added protection.
Encourage Healthy Habits in the Classroom
In classrooms, germs breed on items that all the children share, such as toys, art supplies, and the class pencil sharpener. Provide your child with a personal set of supplies that is not to be shared with others to help in preventing the spread of germs. Remind your child not to share meals, snacks, or drinks with their classmates.
In addition to minimal object sharing, the CDC recommends encouraging the following healthy habits:
- Keep your children home when they are sick. This will help prevent other children and teachers from catching the illness.
- Teach your children to cover their nose and mouth with a tissue when coughing or sneezing. Remind them to throw the tissue away after use and to wash their hands. Have them cover their mouth and nose with their sleeve – not their hand – when a tissue is not available.
- Teach your children to avoid touching their eyes, nose, and mouth. Germs spread this way, so it’s best to instruct your children to keep their hands away from their faces.
Clean and Disinfect Surfaces or Objects
This goes for surfaces and objects both at school and at home. Studies show that cleaning and disinfecting surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with germs like the flu can help slow the spread of influenza (source). Ask your child to carefully wipe down desks and keyboards with disinfecting wipes before and after use. To help fight the spread of germs from school to home, diligently clean and disinfect tables, counter tops, and frequently touched surfaces, like doorknobs and light switches. Don’t forget to disinfect the soft items that your child brings home from school too, such as backpacks, to prevent germs from spreading to other family members.
You can also help eliminate germs in the classroom by donating disinfectant products like the SafeSpace Germ Fogger. When fully discharged, the SafeSpace fogger eliminates 99 percent of germs that cause the flu, common cold, Staph, MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus), and more with a cloud of EPA-approved disinfectant.
If you need help keeping your family healthy this flu season, check out SafeSpace. The SafeSpace Company is a family-owned small business proudly selling American-made germ foggers, auto germ and odor eliminators, and alcohol-free hand sanitizers to help you in preventing the spread of germs and keeping your family healthy. For more information about our products, contact us online or call us toll free at 1-800-735-2506. We’d love to hear from you!