• Behavior
  • Education
  • Health

School nurses: Don't let teens back away from handwashing

  • Posted
Child washing hands

In this article, you’ll find answers to questions like:

1. How to prevent illness?
2. How long should you wash your hands?
3. Should sick children attend school?

Even if you’re ensuring your children exercise, sleep enough and eat well, those efforts may be wasted if they’re not washing their hands - especially in the time of COVID.

1. HOW TO PREVENT ILLNESS?

That’s what more than 270 U.S. school nurses said in a survey by KidsHealth in the Classroom, which emphasizes handwashing as the best way to prevent children from getting sick, whether from a common cold or pandemic virus.

The nurses say parents should teach — and then remind — their children how and when to wash their hands and to not touch their eyes, nose and mouth. They should also cough and sneeze into their elbows to minimize the spread of germs.

All of this becomes even more vital during widespread virus outbreaks, such as the historic COVID-19 pandemic.

2. HOW LONG SHOULD YOU WASH YOUR HANDS?

Lathering hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds — or humming the "Happy Birthday" song twice — is the proper way to kill germs.

The nurses recommend parents help their children learn good hygiene, eat nutritious food, get enough sleep and stay up to date with immunizations, including flu shots.

3. SHOULD SICK CHILDREN ATTEND SCHOOL?

Another key in decreasing illness in schools is for parents to keep their children home when they’re sick, the nurses say. For example, parents shouldn’t feel pressured to send their children to school sick, particularly with a fever, because they have a test.

Most schools require students stay home until at least 24 hours after a fever has broken naturally, which means without medicine.

SOURCES:

KidsHealth in the Classroom

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

 
 

Back to listing

For a listing of all resources, click here.
Additional Resources
You May Also Enjoy
  • How to stow away medicine from little explorers in your home

    While it’s important to encourage our kids to explore and discover new things, we want to be careful to keep them safe when it comes to medication. Here are tips from experts on how to do that.

  • Ages 11-14: Giving cold shoulder? Don’t worry, it’s sign of maturing

    Moodiness may peak for teens between ages 12 to 14, and independence increases. This is a time of many physical, mental, emotional and social changes. Read on for more insight about key developmental markers from our experts.

  • BLOG: Local parks offer great way for kids to try organized sports

    From baseball and football to cheerleading and rugby, competitive teams can impart a range of skills and benefits that translate beyond the sport realm. Read on for details from our local parks expert, who makes it a cinch for your child to connect with the right team.