Preventing back-to-school illness

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Now that kids are back to school, health care professionals want to make sure they don’t get sidelined by sickness.

According to St. Louis Children’s Hospital, students average five or six colds during the school year, but there are some easy steps that can help keep them on track and in the classroom.

As always, doctors said parents should make sure their kids get plenty of sleep and eat healthy foods. Simply getting daily nutrients and taking the time to rejuvenate with rest boosts the immune system, which increases the body’s ability to fight off sickness.

It’s also a good idea to teach young children not to touch their face with their hands. Doing so will prevent any germs on their hands from getting into their nose, eyes or mouth.

But as we all know, no matter how hard you try to prevent it, children will eventually get sick. With that said, it’s also recommended that students be taught to cover their mouths when they cough or sneeze, preventing others from catching it as well.

To prevent the spread of germs, children should be reminded to cover their mouths when they cough or sneeze, and to wash their hands to avoid spreading a cold or the flu. Doctors said soap and water should be used for at least 20 seconds, but if that’s not available an alcohol-based hand sanitizer can also be used.

Though you don’t hear about it much, doctors said infections like scabies can also spread easily among children in school.

“Scabies is caused by a little mite that can get into the skin and cause a little rash. Very contagious. You can spread it from one person to another. You can also spread it by contaminated clothing. Scabies has a typical rash at night time. Doctors can diagnosis it and fortunately there is medicine you can treat with it.”

Back in June, more than 300 inmates were treated at a privately run Nashville jail when a scabies like rash spread through the facility.

A recent case of scabies at a hospital in the Boston area spread to over 20 staff members.