Now that kids are back in school, they might start coming home with illnesses picked up in the classroom.

While there’s no guarantee your kids won’t get sick this school year, there are some basic prevention tips you can teach them to help them stay healthy while avoiding spreading germs to classmates and teachers:

Practice good hand washing

“Keeping our hands clean is one of the best things we can do to keep from getting sick and avoid spreading germs to others…” says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Dr. Tom Frieden in his video about hand washing.

The CDC offers a comprehensive list of when we should all wash our hands, and provides five essential steps needed to get clean hands. Ensuring your children know when to wash their hands, as well as good hand washing techniques, will go a long way in helping them and their classmates and teachers stay healthy.

Use a hand sanitizer

If soap and water aren’t available, make sure your kids have access to hand sanitizers in the classroom. While not as effective at killing germs as soap and water, hand sanitizers can provide some protection against germs. The CDC recommends using hand sanitizers that are at least 60 percent alcohol.

Cover cough and sneezes with tissues

In addition to hand sanitizers, ensure tissues are readily available. Kids should know to cover their sneezes or coughs with a tissue. They should also wash their hands thoroughly any time they’ve sneezed or cough into a tissue.

Use the bend of the arm

If tissues are unavailable, teach kids that it’s OK to cough or sneeze into the bend of their arm as an alternative.

Don’t share food, bottles/cups, and personal items

Your child might be inclined to let a friend drink from their cup at lunch or take a bite of their food. Kids should know this basic rule: anything they put into their mouths shouldn’t be shared with others.

We hope your child has a safe and healthy school year. But should they get sick with a non-emergency illness, remember to contact Teladoc.* Our licensed doctors can diagnose and treat many common childhood illnesses, like the cold and flu, croup, strep throat and more.

 

*Teladoc membership required. Visit Teladoc.com to learn more.

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The COVID-19 pandemic is rapidly evolving. While we are continuously reviewing and updating our content, some of the information in this article may not reflect the most up-to-date scientific information. Please visit the online resources provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the World Health Organization (WHO) and your local public health department to stay informed on the latest news, or reach out to Teladoc to speak with one of our board-certified physicians.