Germ Prevention at Home or School

Protecting your child from germs that can make them sick is a top concern for parents – especially as we enter into cold and flu season.

Germ Prevention at Home or School

Protecting your child from germs that can make them sick is a top concern for parents – especially as we enter into cold and flu season.

Each year, the average American child experiences six to ten colds. In fact, the common cold causes more doctor appointments and missed days of school (and work for parents!) than any other child illness.

The common cold isn’t only illness your child can pick up from germs at school, home or childcare centers. School season also brings concerns about the flu and other illnesses easily passed through sticky fingers, shared toys and close proximity.

To keep your family safe from the spread of germs at school and at home, AGC Pediatrics has compiled our top tips for staving off sickness.

Get a Flu Vaccine

The flu is the single most vaccine-preventable disease affecting children. This simple virus can lead to more severe complications for children due to their underdeveloped immune systems. More than 20,000 children ages 5 and under are hospitalized due to flu-related complications each year, but many of these hospital visits can be prevented with the annual flu vaccine.

The CDC recommends influenza vaccinations for all children over six months old and, when used with our other germ prevention tips, can make a big impact in preventing illnesses.

Make Handwashing Fun!

Teach your children the importance of washing their hands frequently during the day after using the bathroom, before eating and after being around someone who is sick.

Help your child make this a fun activity by allowing them to pick out their own hand soap. Whether they choose glitter sparkles, a label featuring their favorite character, or something bubblegum scented, they’ll be more excited about running to the sink to wash up when they love their soap.

Teach them how to correctly wash their hands – including between the fingers and under the nails – by singing one of their favorite nursery rhyme songs while they scrub. Children should scrub their hands for about two minutes which is approximately the amount of time it take to sing “Itsy Bitsy Spider” or “Happy Birthday” twice.

Disinfect Your Home

Invest in high-quality disinfecting cleaners designed to kill germs like those that cause colds and the flu. Use them often during cold and flu season, especially when someone in your family is or has been sick.

Children’s toys, high chairs, and backpacks can be a breeding ground for germs so it is important to periodically wash them or spray them with disinfectant. Boil toothbrushes or buy new ones after someone has been sick and be sure to wash all the bedding they used.

Think about the most frequently touched surfaces in your home and car such as kitchen countertops, bathroom sinks, the car seat and the fridge handle. Keep them clean either with disinfecting wipes or child-safe spray cleaners.

Get Involved at School

It’s important to check with your child’s school to request that handwashing always be encouraged before snack or lunch time, after recess, and after using the bathrooms. Healthy habits are an important part of your child’s education.

You can also check to see if your child’s school may need donations of hand soap or hand sanitizer. Work together with the PTA or other parents and request each family send their child to school with a bottle of hand soap, hand sanitizer, or disinfecting wipes to ensure that every class is equipped for cold and flu season.

Teach When Not To Share

Sharing is a wonderful lesson we instill in our children that teaches the value of teamwork, however it’s important to teach them that we shouldn’t share everything with friends – especially when it may make us or someone else sick. Teach your children to never share their water bottles, eating utensils, or half-eaten food with their classmates.

Adding an extra juice box or bag of chips into their lunchbox for them to give to a friend is a good way to show them how to share safely while keeping them healthy at the same time.

Schedule an Appointment with AGC Pediatrics!

Learn more about keeping your child safe and healthy by speaking with one of our caring and knowledgeable physicians.

We have three conveniently located offices in Calhoun and Cartersville to serve patients in the surrounding areas. Call (706) 625-5900 or fill out our online contact form to schedule an appointment.