Because of their close quarters, classrooms are essentially a breeding ground for bacteria and viruses. That means that even if your children are up-to-date on all their immunizations, they’re not necessarily immune to every illness they could come across at school. As long as you follow a few simple tips, though, you can keep the whole family healthy over the course of the year.
3 Common Illnesses in Schools—& How to Prevent Them
1. Common Colds
Characterized by congestion, coughing, and sneezing, common colds can leave your kids uncomfortable for a week or more. A sore throat is often the first tell-tale sign of a common cold, and it’s quickly followed by a runny nose and body aches. Since common colds are caused by viruses, the best way to protect your family is by practicing good hygiene. This includes washing hands often with soap and warm water and avoiding other people who are sick as the viruses can spread through the air.
2. Pink Eye
Conjunctivitis, or what’s more commonly known as pink eye, refers to irritation of the conjunctiva, which covers the white part of the eye and lines the eyelid. This membrane can become infected or inflamed due to viruses, bacteria, allergens, and foreign bodies.
Both viral and bacterial conjunctivitis are incredibly contagious and spread through direct and indirect contact with the discharge that drains from affected eyes. As such, a single case of pink eye in the classroom can easily lead to a dozen or more infections in a matter of days.
Unfortunately, there’s no immunization for pink eye. You can, however, protect your children by teaching them proper handwashing habits, sending them to school with hand sanitizer, and instructing them to avoid touching their eyes, nose, and mouth over the course of the day.
Caused by the varicella-zoster virus (VZV), chickenpox is a highly contagious disease characterized by an all-over rash. Accompanying symptoms include fever and fatigue. You may remember getting chickenpox as a child; you may even remember your parents “helping” you catch it from another child so you could develop an immunity to it for the rest of your life. Thankfully, there’s a much safer way to protect children from the VZV nowadays. Scientists have developed an effective immunization for it, which is usually administered at 12-15 months of age and then again at 4-6 years.
If you or your children end up getting sick this year despite your best efforts, turn to Dumas Family Practice in Moore County. For nearly 30 years, their friendly providers have been caring for families throughout the northern panhandle of Texas. From administering immunizations and performing sports physicals to treating chronic illnesses like diabetes, they offer a broad range of services at their state-of-the-art facility. To make an appointment, call (806) 935-9005, and then visit their website to fill out new patient paperwork.