The beginning of the school year is also often the start of a new round of infections.
The incidence of ear infections, conjunctivitis, colds and stomach flus increases significantly at this time of year, due to close interactions that promote the exchange of germs.
If you’d like your children to develop fewer infections this year, teach them how and when to wash their hands, and also ask the school staff to promote these practices at school. If everyone makes an effort, there will be much fewer infections.
When should you wash your hands? As often as necessary! At the very least, wash your hands before and after meals, after going to the washroom (even if it’s just to urinate), and after having coughed or blown your nose.
How should you wash your hands? It is best to use water and soap (regular soap, no need to use antibacterial types) rather than alcohol-based products. Alcohol-based hand sanitizers can irritate the skin, especially children’s delicate skin, and they not very effective against the virus that causes gastroenteritis.
Start by wetting your hands, and then add enough soap to create lather. Next, rub the hands together for about twenty seconds. To help children rub their hands long enough, tell them to sing a nursery rhyme or recite the alphabet while they rub. Friction is important to loosen up the germs that may be present on the skin. Lastly, rinse with warm water. To dry the hands, the choice of a no-contact hand dryer versus paper towels is a question of preference and availability.
Don’t hesitate to consult your pharmacist if you have any questions on how to prevent or treat these infections!
Have a great and healthy school year!