Practical Swine Flu Prevention Tips for Parents & Teachers

By Erika Schwartz

No one knows what this school year has in store, so what must be done to make sure your child is Swine Flu safe? According to Dr. Erika Schwartz, Medical Director of Cinergy Health , as kids gear up for back to school, adults may be leery about health concerns. Recently the CDC reported 436 deaths and 6,506 hospitalizations nationwide associated with Swine Flu. Here are some practical Swine Flu tips for teachers and parents alike:

  • Teach your students/children to wash their hands throughout the day.
  • Keep anti-bacterial pumps accessible in around the house or in the classroom. Explain what the pumps are and when it's appropriate to use them.
  • Remind the children not to touch their eyes, nose and mouth with their hands. Germs are spread when a child touches something that is contaminated and then touches her or his eyes, nose or mouth. Also they spread when kids sneeze and cough without covering
  • Sharing food and drink will also spread germs.
  • Explain to the importance of getting at least 8-10 hours of sleep a night. Make them aware of how it affects how they feel, their energy level, their moods, etc. the next day.
  • Teach them to eat three full meals and several snacks a day which are balanced complex carbohydrates, protein and are chock full of fruit and vegetables. Stay away from pre-prepared, high sugar, soda and preserved foods.
  • Keep children hydrated. Kids should be drinking 4-6 glasses of water a day. Help them choose water over sugary drinks.
  • Dissuade children from sharing cups, straws and bottles (anything they have direct mouth contact with will spread the germs).
  • Make sure the children are getting sufficient exercise. Children should be doing aerobic activity at least 5 days a week during recess, gym class or after-school sports.
  • Don't send sick children to school; likewise, send them home if they get sick at school. Allowing children to stay in school is the fastest way to spread germs and illness.
  • Helping prevent the flu or cold developing with vitamin C, hydration, rest and chicken soup is critical.
How to NOT go “over board” with Swine Flu Prevention:
  • There is no need to frighten the children by wearing a mask or using gloves. If they see their teacher being hysterical or nervous they will imitate and results will be counter productive.
  • There is no reason to explain in detail the symptoms or effects of the flu to children. Younger children will not understand and adolescents will get scared. Teaching them to maintain healthy lifestyles is all they need to learn from you.