–  Teach your students to wash their hands throughout the day.

–  Keep anti-bacterial pumps accessible in the classroom. Explain what the pumps are and when it’s appropriate to use them.

–  Remind the students not to touch their eyes, nose and mouth with their hands. Germs are spread when a child touches something that is contaminated and then touches her or his eyes, nose or mouth. Also they spread when kids sneeze and cough without covering

–  Sharing food and drink will also spread germs.

–  Explain to students the importance of getting at least 8-10 hours of sleep a night. Make them aware of how it affects how they feel, their energy level, their moods, etc. the next day.

–  Teach your students to eat three full meals and several snacks a day which are balanced complex carbohydrates, protein and are chock full of fruit and vegetables. Stay away from pre-prepared, high sugar, soda and preserved foods.

–  Keep children hydrated. Kids should be drinking 4-6 glasses of water a day. Help them choose water over sugary drinks.

–  Dissuade children from sharing cups, straws and bottles (anything they have direct mouth contact with will spread the germs).

–  Make sure the children are getting sufficient exercise. Children should be doing aerobic activity at least 5 days a week during recess, gym class or after-school sports.

–  Don’t send sick children to school; likewise, send them home if they get sick at school. Allowing children to stay in school is the fastest way to spread germs and illness.

–  Send a “Flu Prevention Tips” letter home with students to give to their parents. The same tips should be practiced at home to assure a healthy school year.

–  If you notice a child with the beginning symptoms of a flu or cold, let their parents know immediately. Helping prevent the flu or cold developing with vitamin C, hydration, rest and chicken soup is critical.

Dr. Erika Schwartz, Medical Director of Cinergy Health is a general internist, an authority on preventive health and a patient advocate.  She is a 25 year health industry veteran, working in both an ER as well as a private practice.

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