As students are heading back to school, chances are they will be coming into contact with the ugly germs that can easily be spread around the classroom and increasing their chances of getting the seasonal flu. Last year we experienced the first influenza pandemic from the H1N1 virus in more than 40 years. According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), they cannot be certain, but it is likely that the 2009 H1N1 virus will continue to spread along with the seasonal viruses in the United States during the 2010-2011 flu season. Although there is never a guarantee, there are several ways that students can avoid the flu in the classroom by taking some simple steps.
One way a student can avoid the flu in the classroom is protecting themselves with the 2010-2011 flu vaccine. This vaccine will protect against an influenza A H3N2 virus, an influenza B virus and the 2009 H1N1 virus. You can receive the flu shot at a doctors office, pharmacy, or a flu vaccine clinic.
As hard as it is for many students, you can avoid the flu in the classroom by not touching your eyes, nose, and mouth. This is a habit that must be learned. Many times we are tired and want to rub our eyes or our nose itches. If you have touched something in the classroom that was not clean and full of germs and then touch your eyes, nose, or mouth, you have an extreme high chance of getting the flu. Try using a tissue if you need to rub your eyes or itch your nose.
Washing your hands often can help students avoid the flu in the classroom. The rule of thumb for washing your hands is singing the entire alphabet as you are scrubbing with soap. If you are unable to wash your hands, use alcohol based-hand sanitizers. Keeping a hand sanitizer in your desk, backpack, or purse is a must to help a student avoid the flu in the classroom.
Be a proactive students and talk to the teacher about a small task that students can do in the classroom to avoid the flu. Have the students use an anti-bacteria wipe on their desk, chair and their surroundings everyday. Students can also take turns each day wiping the things that are touched in the classroom, including the door knob, stapler, sink, water fountain, and any other classroom items that are used by all the students. The more the students wipe, the more chances they have to avoid the flu in the classroom.
Staying away from other students when they are sick or have flu-like symptoms can help a student avoid the flu in the classroom. The closer you are to someone who is sick with the flu, the higher your chances are receiving the flu. It’s best that a student stays home for at least 24 hours after the the fever is gone without taking fever reducing medications.
When you feel the tickle of a cough or sneeze and don’t have a tissue, cover your nose and mouth with the inside of your arm at the elbow. When students cough or sneeze in their hand and then touch something in the classroom, they are taking a risk of spreading germs to other students. If you use a tissue, be sure to through the tissue away in the trash can immediately.
Keeping good health habits is another way a student can avoid the flu in the classroom. If by any chance you touch something full of germs, you have a higher chance of getting the flu if your immune system is down. You can increase your immune system by exercising, getting plenty of rest and eating fruits and vegetables that have antioxidants, beta-carotene, and rich in vitamin A, C, and E.