Back-to-School Germs by Erik Ortega
It’s back-to-school time across the country. As parents are gearing their kids up for the new year, there’s one major thing they need to prepare for, germs. Kids and germs seem to go together like peanut butter and jelly. Schools are major hosts for germs and viruses. Germs are present everywhere, from the classroom door knob to the playground equipment. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), common colds are the main reason children miss school. Many parents still send their children to school even if they have a runny nose, cough and/or fever. What they don’t know is those sick kids that remain at school contaminate everything. This not only spreads germs, but make them multiply at a more rapid rate.
It’s important for parents to educate their children about the importance of hand washing, sanitizing and avoid touching their eyes, nose and mouth. One of the most common ways children get colds is by rubbing their nose or eyes after the virus germs have gotten on their hands. In one study of children in school, about half washed their hands after using the bathroom, and only 33% of the girls and 8% of the boys used soap. The CDC states that the virus germ lives on our hands and suggest that the proper way to wash is to “wet, lather and scrub with warm water (wait 20 seconds – sing “Happy Birthday” twice), rinse, and dry.”
I interviewed one of our Board-Certified physicians, Dr. Nathan Kiskila, and asked him a few questions to get some advice for parents:
Q. Why do you think kids (K-12) don’t wash their hands?
A. Lack of education and understanding of the germs living on our hands.
Q. Do you believe parents play a role in teaching their child to wash their hand?
A. Yes, parents are the #1 role model when educating their kids in proper hygiene and cleanliness.
Q. Can teaching your children hand hygiene decrease their chances of getting sick?
A. Studies indicate that handwashing can significantly lower the chance of getting sick.
Q. What are the common health issues that children can get from not washing their hands?
A. They can get viruses such as a head or chest cold, which can lead to more serious conditions if left untreated.
Q. How often should kids wash their hands?
A. Whenever their hands are dirty. Three times daily or even four times daily. Before eating, after using the restroom and playing on the playground.
The information provided is for general interest only and should not be misconstrued as a diagnosis, prognosis or treatment recommendation. This information does not in any way constitute the practice of medicine, or any other health care profession. Readers are directed to consult their health care provider regarding their specific health situation. Marque Medical is not liable for any action taken by a reader based upon this information.