Getting Prepared for the Winter Months…

By Dr. Natalie Geary, MD

Winter months tend to bring on more illness for your children, but in fact just being at school or daycare can significantly impact on your child’s overall health risk, especially when they are first starting out. This is because children do not know how to practice health hygiene( many adults do not either) and many children are sent to school sick because of childcare issues.
In children who are vaccinated, most Infections in children are caused by common viruses. Imagine a crowded classroom, where children wipe their noses with their hand and then play with a toy, or sneeze and cough onto the activity table where others are sitting. The germs then land in the area and are easily spread to other children.

Similarly, a child who has diarrhea uses the toilet and returns to the classroom without washing his or her hands. Then anything the sick child touches can become contaminated with microscopic amounts of feces spread to other children who play with the same toy and then put their fingers in their mouths.

As always, prevention is the best form of medicine. Teach your children some very basic rules and reinforce them with the teacher.

Encourage the teacher to make visual clues such as pictures and signs about covering your nose and mouth, washing your hands and wiping down the shared objects frequently.

Bring hand sanitizers and disinfecting wipes to the classroom

  • Do not allow your child to share food, glasses and water bottles, or hats and combs.
  • Remind your child not to touch his or her eyes and to keep their fingers out of their mouths
  • When your child gets home from school have him or her change out of the school clothes, wash up and put on “indoor clothes” that are fresh so they don’t carry home infections from school.
  • Consider having your child receive the flu vaccine which is now recommended for every child over 6 months.
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