No one likes being sick, especially at the start of a new school year. With all the activities of a new packed schedule, there’s no time to waste time laid up in bed with a cold or fever. Unfortunately, sickness is inevitable at times, especially when around large groups of people sharing common areas such as desks, bathrooms, and technology. This fall, preventing back-to-school colds and common illnesses can be prevented with basic – yet highly effective – hygiene habits.
Wash your hands
This may seem obvious but a shocking number of people go through the day without washing their hands. According to the American Society of Microbiology, only 50 percent of high school-aged kids wash their hands and only 41 percent of that group admitted to using soap.
Additionally, hand washing could reduce the spread of respiratory infections by a whopping 16 percent, according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC). The use of an alcohol-based hand sanitizer in the classroom provided an overall decrease in absenteeism due to infection by nearly 20 percent among 16 elementary schools and 6,000 students.
Cough and sneeze into your sleeve
Covering your mouth with your hand is a nice gesture and prevents you from coughing directly on the person next to you but it doesn’t prevent germs from spreading. Unless you immediately wash or sanitize your hands, whatever you touch next––a door knob, computer mouse or another person––is then infected.
Don’t share personal items
The San Francisco Department of Health warns against sharing personal items that can’t be disinfected, like toothbrushes and razors, or sharing towels between washes. Needles should never be shared, should only be used once and then thrown away properly.
Clean and disinfect commonly used surfaces
The computer lab, gym and library are hot beds for germs. Any surface that is touched by other people could be covered with germs that can get you sick. Schools should be doing their part to keep equipment and surfaces clean but as a student using these amenities, be sure to wash your hands thoroughly after touching. Carrying a portable bottle of hand sanitizer with you isn’t a bad idea either.
If you’re sick, stay home
If you’re not feeling well, stay home and get some rest. It’s the fastest way to recover from a common illnesses and also keeps from getting others sick. In fact, many school districts in Michigan ask that children be fever-free for 24 hours prior to returning to school.
With a new school year on the horizon, you can keep yourself and those around you healthy by following these simple tips. If you, however, find yourself or your child with a back-to-school cold, visit your local Michigan Urgent Care clinic for prompt evaluation and treatment. .