Stacie Mecham, MSN, CPNP, Primary Care Pediatrics

mother helping daughter wash hands.Buses are rolling, bells are ringing, and kids are bustling. Along with sharing summertime memories comes sharing colds and illnesses. Children normally get eight to 12 colds a year, and with each cold lasting up to two weeks, it may seem like your child is always sick. We can be proactive to prevent illnesses and colds with these steps.

  • Practice good handwashing. The best practice is to wash with soap and warm water, especially after using the bathroom and before handling food. Hand sanitizer can be used when soap and water are not available.
  • Drink plenty of fluids. Make sure your child is always drinking plenty of fluids, especially water. It’s also important to teach them not to share drinks with others, so they don’t spread any illnesses or germs they may have.
  • Cover your sneeze. When someone sneezes, germs can be spread up to 12 feet, so it’s important to have children sneeze into a tissue or into the crook of their arm. This will greatly reduce the number of germs being spread.
  • Get a flu shot. We recommend all children older than six months get vaccinated. The flu shot is recommended this year rather than the nasal flu mist. If you have questions, please talk to your pediatrician.
  • Stay home when needed. This is much better than spreading illnesses to many other children in the classroom or on the bus. If they have a fever, vomiting, diarrhea or symptoms of pink eye, they should stay home until they are feeling better or on antibiotics.
  • Visit a doctor if necessary. Children should be seen by a doctor if they have shortness of breath or difficulty breathing; if they have a temperature greater than 103.9˚F or continue to run a fever for a couple of days; or if they have an earache or a severe sore throat.

By following a few safety tips, we can help keep everyone happy and healthy this school year.