01 May Health problems at school
Health problems at school
Here are some tips to stay healthy at school.
Spread of infections
Many childhood illnesses are caused by viruses. All it takes is a single child to bring a virus to school for the spread to begin. Consider this common scenario — a child who has a cold coughs or sneezes in the classroom. The children sitting nearby inhale the infected respiratory droplets and the cold spreads.
Or perhaps a child who has diarrhea uses the toilet and returns to the classroom without washing his or her hands. Illness-causing germs might spread from anything the sick child touches to other children who touch the same object and then put their fingers in their mouths.
Why hand-washing counts
Frequent hand-washing is one of the simplest — and most effective — ways to stay healthy in school. Remind your child to wash his or her hands before eating and after using the toilet, blowing his or her nose, or playing outside.
Don’t share water bottles, food or other personal items
Offer your child this simple rule — if you put the item in your mouth, keep it to yourself.
Use hand sanitizer
Give your child hand sanitizer to keep in his or her desk or backpack. Remind your child to use the sanitizer before eating snacks or lunch and after using a shared computer, pencil sharpener etc. You might also donate disinfecting wipes to the classroom for general use.
Cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze
Give your child a package of tissues to keep in his or her desk or backpack. Encourage your child to cough or sneeze into a tissue — then put the tissue in the trash, and wash his or her hands or use hand sanitizer. If it isn’t possible to reach a tissue in time, remind your child to cough or sneeze into the crook of his or her elbow.
Keep your hands away from your eyes and out of your mouth. Remind your child that hands are often covered in germs.
In some schools there is a full-time certified school nurse who spends most of his or her day attending to the acute and chronic health needs of students. He or she handles acute health problems, administers medications, and performs health assessments and screenings as well as special procedures ordered by a child’s personal doctor; he or she also refers children to their physician for physical exams, diagnosis, and treatment. School nurses can also play a central role in promoting a healthy and safe school environment.
Acute Health Problems
Most illnesses and injuries that arise during school are minor (bumps, scrapes, headaches) and can be cared for by the school nurse. In many instances the child can return to class. When the problem is more serious, a parent will be called to come and take the child home. If the situation is extremely serious or life-threatening, the child will be transported by ambulance to the hospital emergency room or nearest physician. In many but not all schools, one or more staff members have been trained in CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) and first aid. Parents should know how these situations are handled at their child’s school.
The information contained on this Website should not be used as a substitute for the medical care and advice of your health care provider. There may be variations in treatment that your health care provider may recommend based on individual facts and circumstances.