Here are some helpful back-to-school tips for you and your children to use in order to avoid getting sick.
Always wash your hands – A great way to prevent the spread of germs is simply by washing hands frequently and thoroughly. It is important to hand wash before eating, after using the washroom, after counting money, touching pets, after coughing/sneezing and after blowing your nose.
Cover your mouth with your arm when sneezing/coughing – Avoid coughing with your mouth open to prevent the spread of germs through the air. Use your arm to cover your mouth when coughing instead of using your hands. If you cough or sneeze on your hands and touch something or someone without cleaning your hands, you will be spreading your germs.
Avoid touching your eyes, nose, mouth & face – Throughout the day, you touch several different surfaces like doorknobs and handles. Handshakes can also transmit germs. If you have to touch your face, ensure your hands are clean to prevent the entry of unwanted infection into your body. Your eyes, nose and mouth are entry ports for unwanted germs.
Stay home if you are sick – Prevent the spread of illness. If you are sick, stay home. You could pass on your infection to others around you. You can help decrease the transmission of contagious infections such as H1N1 flu virus, stomach flu, even the common cold, just by staying in bed.
Do not share hats, combs & brushes with others – Although head lice does not jump or fly, it is easily spread by direct contact. Children in grade school are more prone to contracting head lice because of their close interaction with each other. The hair that is left on combs and brushes can spread lice. Hair infested with lice can also be left on hats.
Eat a healthy breakfast & lunch – Don’t miss out on breakfast because it helps start your day and gives you the energy you need to push you through the morning. If you get hungry before lunch, a quick snack like a banana or yogurt is a health-wise choice. Choose foods high in whole grains and fibre because they are good for you and will help you feel full longer. Fruits and vegetables are a good choice for healthy snacks and try to stay away from foods high in fats, saturated fat, trans fat, sodium and sugar. Also avoid drinks that are high in sugar like cola. Read the labels (nutrition facts) of the food you buy. It is good to know what you put in your body.
Enjoy physical activity – The Canada Food Guide recommends that children and youth should have at least 90 minutes of physical activity per day. For adults 30 - 60 minutes of physical activity is recommended. This does not have to be done all at once. Break up the workouts throughout the day. Find an activity that interests you such as cycling, walking, running and dancing. Get involved with after school sports or join a sports league. Being active helps you reduce your risk of a serious health condition such as heart attack, stroke, diabetes and obesity. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle makes you feel good and reduces your chances of getting sick.
These are only a few tips on how you can help yourself, your children and others around you promote healthy living and avoid being ill. For more information, speak to your health care professional.
The above information is intended for educational purposes only. Always consult with your doctor, pharmacist or qualified health care professional to receive proper medical treatment.
Armalyn Tesoro is a graduate of the University of Manitoba with a Bachelor of Science degree in Pharmacy. She is currently working as a licensed community pharmacist at Wal-Mart on Ellice and Empress.