From your health and wellness experts at Prisma Health
Children, Health

Stop spreading germs: Tips for parents and kids

Prisma Health Telehealth

It’s something all parents dread – a call from the school nurse telling you that your child is sick. We usually wonder how they got it and how to prevent everyone else in the family from catching it too. Katie Schill, nurse practitioner with Prisma Health Telehealth, offers some tips to share with your children on how to prevent the spread of illnesses. And if you do find yourself with an ill child, when to keep them home from school.

Katie encourages all parents to talk to their kids about germs. “You would be surprised how much they can understand. And understanding why you are asking them to do each preventive measure will help them be more compliant,” she said.

To help “stop the germs,” here are some tips Katie uses with her own family:

  • Wash your hands to your favorite song (for at least 20 seconds) after using the bathroom.
  • Wash your hands and wipe down faces upon returning from school, activities or even errands. Many people ask why I wipe down faces, but how many times do you see your child touch something they shouldn’t and then immediately touch their face.
  • When running errands, use the wipes at the front of the store to wipe down the cart where you are going to be putting your hands.
  • Keep extra wipes in the car for hands and faces. If we are running lots of errands during the winter months, we clean our hands and faces after each store.
  • Use tissues to wipe noses.
  • Cough or sneeze into elbows.
  • Make sure to take care of yourself. As busy parents, we often neglect taking care of ourselves.  

It’s impossible to prevent every illness, so Katie offers some guidelines for knowing when to keep your children home from school. They need to stay home if they:

  • Have a fever of 100.5 or greater. They need to be fever free, without the use of ibuprofen or acetaminophen, for 24 hours before returning.
  • Are vomiting or have vomited or had diarrhea in the past 24 hours. They can return when no vomiting or diarrhea has occurred in 24 hours, or they’re able to keep down solids for two meal times.
  • Are lethargic. We all know as parents, this usually means more symptoms are coming.
  • Have an eye infection that is actively draining. They can return when cleared by a physician, physician assistant or nurse practitioner.

Same-day care

Prisma Health offers several same-day care options for minor illnesses such as cold and flu. To learn more, visit our same-day care options page.

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