Let’s get healthy
Parents of school-aged kids often wonder, “What kind of sickness is my child going to come home with this week?” A big concern that parents have with children getting sick is the number of school days they’re going to miss. Previous studies from the CDC state that 40 percent of children ages 5 through 17 have missed three or more days of school in the past year due to illness or injury. In addition, children across the country miss roughly 22 million cumulative school days every year due to colds and 38 million due to the influenza virus.
Schools are unfortunately a breeding ground for germs because there are so many people in close contact with each other. Many schools are trying to keep their grounds healthy by:
Strongly encouraging students and staff to stay home and seek the proper medical attention for illnesses
Supplying soap and paper towels to encourage proper hand hygiene
Cleaning and disinfecting classroom materials and surfaces on a regular basis
Sending out messages daily about preventing diseases that are going around the school
Handling food safely and using safety precautions when handling bodily fluids
Strongly encouraging students and staff members to get influenza vaccinations
Despite school's best efforts to prevent illnesses on their campuses, there are still illnesses you should be wary of your child catching. Common illnesses in school-aged children include:
Foodborne illnesses – Consuming pathogen-contaminated food and drink causes these. Without proper care, they result in 325,000 hospitalizations and 5,000 deaths in the U.S. annually.
Influenza or the flu – Five to 10 percent of the population winds up coming down with a seasonal form of the flu. There are about 200,000 people hospitalized for complications, and approximately 36,000 die annually from the flu. Young children are more at risk for the more serious complications because their bodies can’t fight off the illness as well as adults can.
MRSA (Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) – This is a type of Staph bacteria that is resistant to certain antibiotics and can cause skin and other infections. These types of infections occur in 94,000 people every year, resulting in an estimated 19,000 deaths.
Pink eye – Pink eye is the inflammation or infection of the outer membrane of the eye and inner eyelid. There are more than three million cases in the U.S. per year.
Here are a few easy – and important – tips that you can teach your children in order to help prevent them from contracting these illnesses and passing them around.
Wash your hands
Some people think that this is “common sense,” but according to recent studies, 95 percent of people wash their hands incorrectly. When executed properly, hand hygiene is the best way to keep from getting sick and spreading illnesses. Schools are now teaching good practices and providing this information for students and families so that they can continue at home. Two key elements to proper hand washing are using soap and singing the “Happy Birthday” song twice while scrubbing; if you do that, your hands are properly clean.
Respiratory infections can spread easily via coughs and sneezes. To prevent germs from spreading, you must cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when sneezing or coughing. You should then immediately throw the tissue in the trash. If there are no tissues available, cough or sneeze into the crook of your arm or your sleeve. Schools are teaching this etiquette to both staff and students.
A common rule of thumb is to keep children home from school, depending on their symptoms, for 24 hours after noticing a fever. Consider longer times away from school based on a doctor’s recommendation. Some schools include information on certain types of illnesses and the amount of time students need to stay out of school in the student handbooks. This is to ensure that children do not get their peers sick and create a school-wide epidemic.
At Velocity Care, we provide influenza vaccinations and can treat your child’s sickness in our walk-in clinics so they can quickly get back to school. We have offices in the Shreveport/Bossier City, Louisiana, area and in Little Rock, Arkansas. Visit our website, www.velocitycare.com, to find the nearest clinic.
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