We spend so much time searching for the perfect back to school clothes and the strongest backpack, but there’s something we may not be excited about: all the germs coming! How do you keep kids healthy? By preventing germs from coming into your house. Here’s a really scary stat: Thirty-eight million school days each year are missed due to the flu and tens of millions more are lost due to colds.* So what’s the best thing you can do? Start practicing healthy habits like regular hand washing and surface disinfection, which can help prevent the spread of germs, helping reduce the number of sick days and ensuring that kids are in the classroom to learn. We learned this at the crash course on germs at Lysol Germ School, hosted by Vera Sweeney and Audrey McClelland. We learned exactly what germs are, where they are found in schools, and how you can keep your family healthier for this school year. How to Keep Your Family Healthy: A Crash Course in Preventing Germs
Vera and Audrey were our hostesses/Class Presidents for the morning.
The first thing we came in was to find our seats (like you would do at any school). Our desks were personalized and we were given backpacks with swag inside (including the awesome CEO shirt from Audrey and Vera’s new t-shirt line). The room was really set us as classroom and the desk was adorable, since I worked for 6 years as a NYC school teacher and made desk name tags for my students.
Before “school started”, we enjoyed some delicious non-dairy smoothies from House of Juice Brooklyn. While normally I would have gone for the green smoothie, the raw chocolate smoothie was calling my name.
Then we took a pop quiz on germs. Do you know the answers?
I’ll be honest, I didn’t know all the answers and was shocked to hear some of them. Joe Rubino, LYSOL’s chief Germologist (actual title is Research & Development Director, Hygiene Personal Care & Surface at RB) gave us some sobering stats about bacteria and viruses.
Did you know:
- Germs are found all over the world, in all kinds of places.
- Germs are tiny organisms, or living things, that can cause disease and infections.
- Germs are so small that you need to use a microscope to see them.
- The three major types of germs are Viruses, Bacteria and Fungi.
Here’s some more info on viruses (in case you’re taking notes).
We also learned that cold and flu viruses are spread easily from person to person in a variety of ways:
- Through direct contact, like shaking hands with someone who has the flu.
- Through indirect contact, like touching a dirty tissue used by someone with a cold, or a surface that has been touched by someone who is sick. The cold & flu virus can live on surfaces for up to 48 hours.
- Through the air, like when one child sneezes on another
- Through contaminated food and water
Here’s the impact in our classrooms and homes that haven’t been mentioned yet:
- 22 Million school days are missed due to illness.
- Kids can touch and retouch more than 300 surfaces in just 30 minutes.
- Americans suffer from 1 billion colds each year.
Next, we spent some time with Dr. Jennifer Zubler, who is a pediatric consultant with Carter Consulting and works with national and local organizations, like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, surrounding pediatric issues. She is board certified in pediatrics and has worked in private pediatric practice for 10 years with special interests in adolescent medicine, developmental delays, learning differences and developmental disabilities. We discussed going back to school and ways to keep kids OUT of the pediatrician’s office. This was a little more informal than Joe’s talk and we were able to have a great discussion.
We talked about as moms, what we can do to keep our kids safer from germs (yes, washing hands when kids get home from school was mentioned) and Dr. Jen had some terrific ideas (reward kids or make a game out of it). She also talked about the flu shot and that now is the best time to get it, as the flu season is in full mast by October. I hadn’t even thought of that this year yet! So — get your flu shot and have your kids get it too.
Important: The flu shot will only be injectable this year, the mist was proven to be less effective over the last three years, so it will not be available this year.
So, what can you do to keep your kids healthier this year?
- Teach proper hygiene. Make sure you get your kids to wash their hands as soon as they come home from school, before they eat and after they use the bathroom.
- Make sure your common surfaces are cleaned regularly. Kitchen tables, bathroom doors, toilet handles, and sink taps are cleaned with a disinfectant like Lysol spray or Lysol wipes.
- Check with your children’s teachers to see if they need you to send in Lysol spray or Lysol wipes to clean desks and common surfaces for kids. Some germs are spread through contact with animals or by a bite or scratch.
- Get the flu shot! No mist will be offered this year and it’s the best way to lessen the effects of the flu. While it may not prevent the flu, it would shorten any flu that is gotten (by a couple of days).
I think we all got a A+ in Germ Knowledge and Prevention! Since I attended Lysol Germ School I have been more insistent on my children washing their hands as soon as they come in from outside and camp. I also wipe down my sink more often and disinfect doorknobs and sink taps. While this may not keep all the germs away, I hope I can easily prevent colds and viruses from visiting.
Info about Lysol:
Lysol, the leading expert in disinfection for more than 100 years, creates disinfecting products, like Lysol Disinfecting Wipes and Lysol Disinfectant Spray, which kill 99.9% of germs on commonly touched surfaces around the classroom. Be sure to stock your child’s classroom with disinfecting products that combat illnesses like the cold and u, MRSA and strep throat, to help create a healthy back to school season.
Box Tops for Education Eligible:
Lysol has partnered with Box Tops for Education as the exclusive household cleaning brand to promote healthy habits across the U.S. by providing classroom disinfecting products eligible for Box Tops redemption. Help support your child’s school one clean surface at a time with Lysol Disinfecting Wipes and Lysol Disinfectant Spray, both eligible for Box Tops redemption.
Lysol® has partnered with the National Education Association (NEA) and National Parent Teacher Association (PTA) to create the Healthy Habits Program. A cornerstone of the Healthy Habits Program is Healthy Habits Week taking place during peak back to school season – September 19, 2016. Kick off a healthy school year by teaching your children proper hand washing and sneezing techniques to help reduce the spread of colds and the days missed due to common illnesses.
Family activities on healthy habits and additional resources to use around the home during Healthy Habits Week can be found at Lysol.com/HealthyHabits.