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Flu Season: Protecting Your Child at School

By Diane Griffith, Staff Writer, myOptumHealth
12/22/2012 12:16:15 PM

It's flu season. Sending your kids to school, and maybe exposing them to sick classmates, can be unnerving. But there are steps you can take to help protect your child from the flu and many other infections. Start by teaching them some prevention tips.

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Helping kids avoid germs

Help keep your kids healthy by teaching them to:

Wash their hands. The most important prevention technique you can teach your kids is to wash their hands frequently with warm soap and water for at least 20 seconds, about the time it takes to sing Happy Birthday twice.

Use hand sanitizers. Also give them alcohol-based hand sanitizers to keep in their book bags or purses. Tell them to use it after touching any surface where germs may live and to rub it on their hands until they are dry.

Know when to wash or sanitize their hands. Make sure kids wash their hands:

- Before eating

- After using the bathroom

- After blowing their nose, coughing, or sneezing

- After touching an animal

Keep their hands away from their face. Tell your kids not to touch their eyes, nose, or mouth unless their hands are clean. Explain to nail-biters that their habit can increase their chances of getting sick.

Don't share cups or utensils. Tell them not to drink from a classmate's cup, take a bite from a friend's sandwich, or share spoons and forks with other students.

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