Parents, the power is in your hands to prevent a cold or the flu.
“Children don’t always listen when we tell them to wash their hands, but it’s definitely a message worth repeating,” said Certified Physician Assistant Julia Alexander of Catawba Valley Family Medicine – Southeast Catawba. “Some viruses and bacteria can live up to two hours or more on surfaces like cafeteria tables, doorknobs and desks. So, it’s important to continue to encourage your child to wash their hands to avoid the spreading germs and ultimately getting sick.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), hand-washing is like a ‘do-it-yourself vaccine’ and is the most important way of preventing the spread of infection. In fact, the CDC reports that proper hand washing could prevent 22 million days, or 60 thousand years, of student absences related to the common cold each year.
To prevent the spreading of germs in school, you must start by teaching the proper hygiene at home. The following are easy-to-learn germ-busting habits that you can share with their children:
- Cover your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing, and throw away any tissues you use.
- Wash your hands after sneezing or coughing, after using the restroom, upon leaving “high-risk” places (i.e., pediatrician’s office, daycare centers, playgrounds and indoor play structures), upon arriving home, and before eating meals and snacks.
- Clean your hands thoroughly with soap and warm water for 15 to 20 seconds. Need a timer? Hum the “Happy Birthday” song from beginning to end twice. If soap and water are not available, use alcohol-based disposable hand wipes or gel sanitizers.
To make an appointment with Julia Alexander, PA-C, of Catawba Valley Family Medicine – Southeast Catawba located at 6127 South Highway 16, Denver, NC 28037, call 704.483.0340.