Happiness is contagious, but so are colds and the flu. When your kids return to school this fall, they’re returning to one of the happiest and most contagious places in their world.
Turns out there’s good reason to believe that your kid isn’t faking that cough she gets right before a big test. Schools are a breeding ground for germs and bacteria, so kids need to be taught to avoid the common sources of germs.
As the CDC notes, “Schools inherently foster the transmission of infections…because they are a group setting in which people are in close contact and share supplies and equipment.” You can add food, high-fives, and plenty of other everyday activities to that list.
The classroom, schoolyard, bathrooms, and school bus are just a few of the many places where students can catch contagions. Here are a few more common sources of school illness that you and your children should be aware of.
Sickness Source: Gym Equipment
According to the New York Times, about five years ago, a rash of nasty infections started cropping up across the country, and the culprit was found to be MRSA, more commonly known as staph — a bacteria that is resistant to many antibiotics.
Young children are susceptible to catching skin infections that arise from this bacteria, and it can live in warm, damp environments — like wet gym towels or gym equipment that hasn’t been wiped down.
Make sure your kids wash their hands often, wipe down their the gym equipment before using it, and use only their own towels, razors, and sandals in the shower. If they have any open sores, make sure they’re covered, and talk to school officials so you can be certain that they’re wiping down and disinfecting commonly used surfaces.
Exhaustion? Or Just Plain Exhaust
Your children don’t have to be sitting behind an idling bus to feel the effects of exhaust fumes. In fact, exhaust in the surrounding air can be drawn in by the building’s ventilation system, bringing toxins into the school.
If fumes from the bus start to pollute the air in a school’s classrooms or hallways, students and staff members could start displaying a number of uncomfortable symptoms, including asthma and respiratory infection. Be alert to any coughing or wheezing symptoms your child starts exhibiting and see if his classroom is situated near the parking lot.
This all-important system of tubes running throughout the school can run into plenty of problems. If AC or heating units get blocked by a janitor’s trashcan or a student’s backpack, it can reduce airflow, which leads to one or more potentially conditions that have your kid feeling under the weather.
First, poor airflow means that the air being circulated in the school environment is never recycled, meaning it’s generally dirtier and more stale — think about the air on an airplane. Besides being uncomfortable, poorly circulated air makes it easier for germs to spread from person to person.
Second, bad airflow can lead to the condensation of water within the ventilation system, which in turn leads to the development of mold. Mold irritates many people’s allergies, causing red or itchy eyes, rash, coughing, and more.
Some molds produce symptoms even in people without allergies, so if your child is sneezing or itching even when they don’t typically experience hay fever, mold could be the culprit.
SingleCare: Affordable, Transparent, Convenient
Though all these precautions are important, it’s impossible for supervisors — let alone students — to be on guard for all of these potential risks. Moreover, personal and environmental hygiene can only go so far. All students need immunizations and regular check-ups to stay healthy, and that’s where SingleCare comes in.
SingleCare operates on a simple three-step process: find a doctor near you, book your visit, then pay as you go. For each doctor’s visit or procedure, what you see is what you pay, and what you pay is up to 60% less than what you’d pay out of pocket.
This fall, don’t let contagious bugs or bad air quality get in the way of your child’s education. Sign up for SingleCare and help protect your children from school sickness.
(Main image credit: Ilmicrofono Oggiono/flickr)