Back to school, back to colds

Backtoschool2015

Now that school is back in session, we are seeing a big uptick in the number of visits for the common cold which always seems to set in this time of year. A runny nose, coughing fit, ear infection, and a sore throat are all symptoms of this common cold virus keeping your kid, and parents, out of school and work this fall. Is there anything we can do about it?

On average, children ages 6-12 get up to 12 colds or illnesses each school year, while older children may have about half as many. Among parents and teachers, this trend is often referred to as the ‘back-to-school plague’.  Many parents know, next to not wanting to see you child suffering through a cold, there are other negative consequences as well, such as:

  • Missed class time and learning.
  • Your time away from work taking care of your sick child (or hiring someone).
  • Transmission of the illness from your child on to you!

Teaching your children how to avoid the spread of germs is the first step to keeping them healthy and in school. These lessons almost begin and end three word, “wash your hands!”

Germs travel fast in a crowd. Classrooms with young children are more likely to touch faces, mouths and noses which serve as incubators for colds, pink eye, and strep throat, especially in winter when there is poor ventilation.

Emily S. of the American International School of Budapest knows exactly what to do to stay healthy and not have to stay at home sick. “Washing hands get germs off,” she says. This was one of the first things she learned while in an area pre-school.

Easy steps for your children to avoid spread of germs at school

  • Avoid public water fountains and sharing unwashed cups with others.
  • Use hand sanitizer, especially before eating lunch. Cafeteria trays are a hotbed of nasty germs.
  • Eat a full, nutritious breakfast, including vitamin C, to give you the energy to fight germs during the day.
  • Cover your mouth when you sneeze and cough. This will help prevent spreading germs to others.
  • Get a good night’s rest. Rest helps keep the immune system healthy. Sleep experts believe children under 12 need between 10 and 11 hours of sleep per night.

A few good habits can go a long way to making sure your child is out of school less during the year due to illness.

In the coming weeks, kids will be returning to school for the new year. One great way to get them started is by visiting your FirstMed pediatrician for a ‘back-to-examination’ to ensure your child is healthy and physically ready for the coming year. This is also the time to get caught up on vital vaccinations which may have weakened with time and now need boosters. Our doctors are ready to check to make sure your children are current. Please call our main number to schedule your child’s visit.