Cold and flu season is never far from the minds of parents of school-aged children. Kids are prone to frequent illnesses for various reasons, including immature immune systems and exposure to germs – often at school or daycare.
Illness is often most prevalent when kids return to school in the fall, during cold and flu season, and after holiday breaks. Germs picked up by one school-aged child can quickly spread throughout a household. Teaching children about germs and taking preventative measures at home can help to stop or slow the spread of illness.
Read on to learn about preventing the spread of germs at school and at home.
How Do Germs Spread in a School?
Germs are transmitted via direct contact (shaking someone’s hand, hugging someone), surfaces like a doorknob or computer mouse, and airborne particles from a cough or a sneeze.
The transmission of cold or other viral (or bacterial) illnesses in a school is often made worse by:
- large class sizes
- the mingling of students at lunch or in crowded hallways
- a lack of knowledge about – or disregard for – basic hygiene (washing hands frequently, sneezing into a tissue or crook of the arm)
- the degree of contagiousness of the predominant strain of illness at any given time
How to Prevent The Spread of Germs at School and at Home
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, cleaning frequently touched surfaces is one of the most effective ways to stop the spread of germs. Keeping a regular at-home cleaning schedule is key to reducing the spread of illnesses brought home from school.
- Clean and sanitize the surfaces in your home regularly: Inevitably, your child will be exposed to germs – just like you will in the office! Keeping your home clean and sticking to a regular schedule of sanitizing surfaces will help prevent the spread of illness in your household. Surfaces to sanitize include tables, countertops, light switches, and doorknobs.
- Clean your children’s school supplies: Clean and sanitize your child’s school supplies. This includes their lunch box, water bottle, pencil case, backpack, and binders.
- Keep up on the laundry: Blankets, mittens, scarves, coats, and sweatshirts may harbor germs (especially when children sneeze into their elbows!). Keep up on laundry, following the manufacturer's instructions for each material.
- Remove shoes at the front door: Encourage guests and members of your household to remove their shoes at the front door. It’s a win-win, less sweeping and less vacuuming as well as fewer germs!
- Sanitize electronics: Frequently touched electronics like remotes, tablets, and computers should all be cleaned and sanitized regularly.
- Prioritize bathroom cleaning: Some germs are most often spread through contaminated fluids. Disinfecting bathroom surfaces is critical in preventing the spread of illness in schools and at home.
Additionally, families should:
- Encourage proper hygiene: Students should wash their hands frequently – after using the restroom, coughing or sneezing, before they eat, and immediately after getting home from school. Teach your kids to wash their hands with soap for 20 seconds (or two rounds of “Happy Birthday”). A small bottle of hand sanitizer is a great addition to any school bag.
- Keep sick children home from school: Students who are ill and potentially contagious should stay home from school, daycare, and extracurricular activities.
Prevent the Spread of Germs at School, Starting at Home
You can’t control your child’s exposure to germs at school, but you can at home. With help from The Cleaning Authority, you can tackle common household cleaning tasks that help prevent the spread of germs in your household.
Take some worry – and work – off your plate this back-to-school and get a free estimate online or call (888) 658-0659 today!