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Back to School: Tips to Keep Kids Healthy This School Year

Why jeopardize an entire classroom full of kids for a perfect attendance record? One sick kid can make an entire class sick.

The school desk. It’s the place where essays get written, books get placed and germs congregate.

As Geneva parents prepare to send the kids back to school with new clothes and a boatload of school supplies, it’s also a good idea to make sure that when the kids go back they know healthy classroom habits.

Here are some tips to help keep children healthy throughout the school year.

Sleep and a good diet are not only helpful to keep kids engaged during class, but they also offer the one-two punch that helps kids fight germs.

Since little hands get into lots of germy things, making sure that children know how to wash their hands the proper way is important. Children should use soap and water, rub their hands for at least 20 seconds, and thoroughly rinse and dry their hands.

Then, as if to mimic Count Dracula, covering the cough is also of great importance to keep germs at bay. Children need to be taught the importance of covering their coughs and sneezes.

While perfect attendance may look good on a report card, if a child is sick, the Health Department says they should be kept at home. One sick kid can spread germs to the entire class.

Sometimes kids demand to wear what they want, like a ballerina tutu when it’s below zero. But, parents need to ensure a child is dressed appropriately for outdoor activities and recess.

Other important tips to keep kids healthy:

  • Make sure your children are up to date on their immunizations and sports physicals, and receive an annual flu shot.
  • Notify the school if your child has been diagnosed with an infectious condition such as strep throat, chickenpox, scarlet fever, or pertussis.
  • Keep your child home if he/she has a fever of 100.4 degrees or higher, has nausea and/or vomiting, has a sore throat with fever, has a persistent cough (dry or productive), has diarrhea (three or more episodes in 24 hours), has a rash, or has symptoms that prevent him or her from participating in school such as excessive tiredness or lack of appetite, headaches, body aches, earache, or sore throat.

If a child has recently been ill, parents should be aware of the following guidelines for returning a child to school, or athletic or social activity:

  • A child should feel fit for at least 24 hours, be free of fever for at least 24 hours without medication, and be free of vomiting or diarrhea for at least 24 hours.
  • If a child had strep throat, they must be on the appropriate antibiotic for at least 24 hours. Conjunctivitis and rash illness should be assessed by a doctor.
  • Keep a child home for at least five days after the appearance of a chickenpox rash or until all blisters have scabbed over.

 

Source: DuPage County Health Department

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