Summer is coming to a close and parents are busy getting their children prepared for going back to school. This is usually the time of year where young children are experiencing a mix of emotions ranging between excitement and nervousness, but now it’s their parents that have something to worry about. Experts say that the H1N1 virus, also known as swine flu, could make a comeback when kids head back to school.
Here are a list of things that you can do to reduce risk of infection.
1. Do your research.
Learn about the H1N1 virus and what precautions you should be taking yourself. The Center for Disease Control (CDC.gov) is a great resource on the latest information about health threats. You can also take SafetySkills free Flu Symptoms and Prevention Strategies course. This free online course includes vital information about swine flu and how to protect yourself from infection. After taking this course, recommend it to other parents and your children’s daycare or school staff members.
2. Be clean.
It sounds like a no-brainer, but you would be surprised how many people do not perform simple cleansing chores that could save them and their family members from getting sick.
- Use proper cleaning supplies in your kitchen and bathrooms, but don’t over do it with the bleach. That will cause a whole new health problem.
- Take out the trash in a timely fashion. This will prevent insect infestation and mold, plus it’s not the best smell to have in your home.
- Always use anti-bacterial soap and carry anti-bacterial gel (such as Purell) in your purse, car, etc.
- Keep tissues available in every room of your home.
- Make washing hands fun for kids – have them sing their ABC’s while washing to ensure that they have done it long enough, they’ll love it!
- Use anti-bacterial sprays around the house, like Febreeze. It really does help.
3. Ask your child’s teacher and daycare center administrator what they are doing to prevent the spread of infection.
As a parent, I know that I feel guilty enough about leaving my child at her pre-school everyday without needing to worry about if she is going to come home with a dangerous case of the flu. Having a good relationship with your child’s teachers and caregivers is extremely important for many reasons, but especially when it comes to being aware of how they are protecting your child. If you do not feel satisfied with their approach, give them a recommendation of what you would like for them to use or consider moving your child to another daycare or school that fits your criteria.
4. Use common sense.
Obviously if your child is sick, do not send your child to school. This spreads illness and it turns into an endless cycle of misery. If your child appears to have more than just a case of the sniffles, make an appointment with your pediatrician. Remember to keep your house as clean as possible when anyone in the household is sick to reduce the chances of others in the home coming down with it.
If anyone has any helpful tips to give other parents or child caregivers, please leave a comment below. Thanks.