of the Bugs: How to Keep Your Kids Germ-Free
By Dr. Tara Kompare, Pharm.D.
The Medicine Mom
oldest daughter is starting kindergarten this year. With a smile
on my face I will help her onto the bus and, the moment she turns
her back to me, I will cry like a baby.
this crying will not be without warrant. Besides worrying about
the big kids bossing her around, I am also quite paranoid of microscopic
troublemakers that may be hiding out.
viruses, fungi, and protozoa constitute the world of germs and they
love to take residence in schools. They can be found on food, tables,
doorknobs, and on lots of little hands. In order to help minimize
the sick days our children have to take this year, have them follow
these simple rules:
#1: Wash those hands! : One of the most important pieces of advice
you can send your child away with this year is: Remember to
wash your hands! It is best to use warm soap and water and
scrub hands thoroughly for at least 20 seconds (or the time it takes
to sing the Happy Birthday song twice).
#2: No Sharing: When it comes to personal items such as hairbrushes,
combs, and drinks, this is one time when sharing is not caring.
#3: Cover Up: I learned some wise advice from my girls pre-school
teacher, Miss Sally: Never cough or sneeze into your hands
since you touch everything with them afterwards. Instead, cover
your mouth with the crook of your arm. Of course, the best
option would be covering up your mouth with a tissue or hankie but
what are the odds of that happening in school every time a kid coughs
Get immunized: It is important to keep your children up-to-date
on their immunizations. And, dont forget to ask about the
flu vaccine, which is now available as a child-friendly nasal spray.
#5: Stay Home: If your child appears sick, try to keep them home.
This is a lot easier said than done sometimes especially if you
are the head honcho at work. You would think more companies would
offer a sick day care center. Maybe one day
#6: Help Prevent Resistance: Believe it or not, antibiotics do not
cure the most popular bugs that cause our children to miss school.
The common cold and the flu are both caused by viruses and are not
treatable with prescription antibiotics. Over-prescribing of antibiotics
can lead to drug resistance and the emergence of hard to treat superbugs.
Some ways to help combat multiple drug resistant bacteria include:
Understand that a lot of times an antibiotic is not the best choice
for your childs illness.
Wash your hands and fresh produce thoroughly. Only use antibacterial
hand gels and soaps when warm water and soap are not available.
Ensure your child completes their full course of antibiotic therapy
often wonder how it is that anyone ever reaches the age of adulthood.
Just surviving one full day of school is a feat in and of itself.
So how do our children do it? As far as the school bullies go, if
your kids are anything like my daughter, they will immediately run
and tell on the perpetrator at large. As for the bugs, with the
right amount of guidance and hand washing, I think our kids will
make it through the school year just fine
(Parent Sanity Saver): If your kids seem to ignore the advice you
deliver concerning the importance of proper hand hygiene, have them
go online to the Scrub Club at www.scrubclub.org.
The Scrub Club is a fun, interactive website dedicated to
teaching children the benefits of hand washing.
author is a doctor of pharmacy and mother of two amazing little
girls. You can visit her website at www.themedicinemom.com.
She encourages reader comments and suggestions.
information presented on this site is intended solely as a general
educational aid, and is neither medical nor healthcare advice for
any individual problem, nor a substitute for medical or other professional
advice and services from a qualified healthcare provider familiar
with your unique circumstances. Always seek the advice of your physician
or other qualified healthcare professional regarding any medical
condition and before starting any new treatment.