As children potentially return to in-person school after virtual learning and winter breaks amid the COVID-19 pandemic, they may be more exposed to germs that can make their way through the whole family.
It’s more important than ever to continue to teach kids how to avoid infection. These tips can help parents keep their children healthy this winter.
As they touch surfaces and objects throughout the day, kids will accumulate germs on their hands. They can then infect themselves by touching their noses, eyes, and mouths. They can also transmit viral and bacterial particles from their hands to food at lunchtime.
Although it's virtually impossible to keep their hands completely germ-free, children can limit the transfer of germs by washing their hands frequently. Ideally, your kids should scrub their hands for at least 20 seconds. The CDC recommends that parents teach their kids to wash their hands while humming the "Happy Birthday" song twice to ensure that they are spending enough time at the sink.
When soap and water are not available, kids should use hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
Teach your kids to thoroughly cover their hands with the sanitizing gel and rub them together until they dry. If your child is younger than six, you should supervise them whenever they use alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
Wearing a cloth mask can help reduce the risk of catching and transmitting COVID-19 at school. If your child's school encourages or requires the use of face masks, consider these helpful tips:
Stress the importance of social or physical distancing. Encourage them to stay at least six feet away from other children and school staffers in both indoor and outdoor spaces.
Familiarize yourself with the CDC’s social distancing tips, and make sure your child’s school is following national guidelines.
Although the flu shot will not protect against COVID-19, it can help reduce the risk of flu illness, complications, and hospitalization among children. It’s not too late to get a flu shot! Get the facts about the flu shot, and talk to your child’s doctor about having your child vaccinated. It's another layer of defense to keep your kids healthy and prevent missed school days.
Be sure to monitor your child every day for signs of COVID-19. These include:
Even if your child doesn’t seem too sick to go to school, it’s important to keep them home if they show even minor symptoms of illness. This can help prevent outbreaks that could cause your school to have to shut down. If you suspect your child may have contracted COVID-19, contact your family doctor for guidance on testing and treatment.