Avoiding Germs at School

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[Follow this link to view the infographic]

You send your kids off to school to learn and prosper. They’re all decked out in new shoes and cute little backpacks. Your son even has his first crush, and you watch him pick dandelions on the way toschool. It’s a picture of Americana, Rockwell-ian, it’s all a… sneeze?

Yes. Schools are where societies build better tomorrows and where tomorrow’s colds and coughs multiply, get sent home and spread through the family.  

What are the “germiest” places in a school?

NSF International, once the National Sanitation Foundation, tested for germs around a schoolhouse, and the results were interesting. You’ll see common areas like the water fountain are the least sanitary, and the toilet seat is by some measures cleaner than a keyboard. 

Location

Total bacteria per square inch (CFU/in sq)

Water fountain spigot in classroom

2,700,000

Reusable cafeteria tray

33,800

Keyboard in classroom

3,000

Toilet seat

3,200

Student’s hand

1,200

*Data from NSF International

On the chart, you can also see that a child’s hand is a major carrier of sickness. This is why it is so important to stress handwashing for school children. Washing hands correctly can protect your child from getting sick or prevent your child from spreading an illness to another child. When flu season kicks up this winter, handwashing is even more important. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) lists handwashing as one of the main ways to reduce the spread of the flu.

What can my child do to stay safe at school?

In addition to handwashing, the CDC recommends keeping your child home when he or she is sick to prevent the spread of illness; teaching your child to avoid close contact- like hugging- when sick; and teaching children to cover up when they sneeze or cough. These simple precautions may lower the risk of contamination.

You may also want to think about providing disinfectant wipes for the classroom. While many schools have vital supplies, donating essentials to your children’s classroom is one way to make sure the teacher has all the resources necessary to fight illnesses when they arise.

Get your flu shot

While it’s important to teach your child to focus on hygiene and avoid “germy” situations, you can also help him fight illness by getting him a flu shot this season. Your local FastMed is always available to help with seasonal vaccinations. 

This winter, teach your children to protect themselves and others from germs. And if someone in your family does catch a cold at school, come see us. We’ll get you back on your feet. 

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