Nurse: Schools can be a hotbed for germs, back-to-school health tips

Friday, August 15, 2014 - 12:12am

They can be a petri dish of germs.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that, on average, elementary school kids get 8 to 12 colds or cases of the flu each school year.

"They sneeze on you. We've also had some that have thrown up on us," said Leticia Macias, a second grade teacher at Mission Ridge Elementary School in Socorro.

In her 26 years as a teacher with the Socorro Independent School District, Macias said she has been exposed to all sorts of germs.

"I believe that it's in-house. Once we're all in, that's where germ spreading starts," she said.

Now that hundreds of kids are back in the classroom at Mission Ridge, Macias said it's her job to make sure her students know how to stay healthy.

"There are little video clips that are very vivid that we also show that portray the image of these germs," she said.

Sarah Olivas, the school's nurse said that nothing is more effective in fighting the spread of germs than washing your hands with soap and water, especially since kids touch their faces and touch each other so many times a day.

"Hand washing with soap and water for at least 20 seconds," recommends Olivas. "They can count to 20 seconds, they can sing the "Happy Birthday" song twice."

Olivas said it's important to disinfect and wipe down some of the germiest spots on campus, like lunch tables, desks, and door knobs.

She said water fountains are also "hot beds" for germs.

"Make sure that they're not putting their mouth on the faucet," said Olivas.

"I wipe wherever he's eating - whether we go out or we're at the house," said  Joana Chavez, a Socorro parent.

Chavez said she keeps a close eye on her son's diet and sleeping habits.

"He goes to sleep by 8pm," said Chavez. "I also try to keep him up on his vitamins."

If your child isn't feeling well, when should you keep them home from school?

Oilivas said if your child has a fever, vomiting, diarrhea, or pink eye, you shouldn't send them to school.



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