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Germ prevention at school

September 6, 2012 2:52:09 PM PDT
Kids often share more than just their lunches during the school day. They're also typically passing germs, but there are some things they can do to decrease the risk.

Dr. Susan Rehm treats infectious diseases at Cleveland Clinic. She says it's easy for students to spread germs in a classroom setting.

"They're not necessarily consistent with their use of tissues. They may not cover their cough and they tend to share whatever they have with the people around them. So daycare and school situations are ideal for spread of respiratory virus," Rehm said.

Dr. Rehm says one your child's best defense against germs at school is hand washing. They should do it before they eat and especially after using the restroom.

Kids can keep an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol in their desk or book bag, too.

You may also get them into the habit of wiping down their desktop with an anti-bacterial wipe at the start or the end of every day.

Dr. Rehm says be sure your child understands the importance of covering their cough.

"The cough covering maneuver, I've heard it referred to as the Dracula move. Coughing or sneezing into the elbow. Kids have picked up on that, I think, extraordinarily well," she said.

Dr. Rehm says to explain to your kids that coughing or sneezing into a tissue is just as effective, but if they don't have time to grab one, their elbow is a much better option than their hands.

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