Children are inclined to fall sick more often than adults. This is mainly because they spend most of their time in close contact with other children at daycare or school where germs are easily transmitted. Unfortunately, most children are not as conscious of personal hygiene as they should be, increasing their risk of illness and the likelihood of passing this on to others.
Hygiene is important for anyone taking care of children, and is one of the most effective ways to prevent any form of illness. However, there’s more to hygiene than just hand washing, though that’s a good start.
Schools can also provide an arena where good hygiene can be shown at its best, and certain behaviors such as hand washing can become an engrained habit at a young age. Setting up a routine of healthy hygiene when your kids are young can create habits that can last throughout their lives. It will also give them the freedom to play freely without the threat of infection.
Dr. Ashraf Allam, Regional Vice President, Mundipharma Middle East and Africa region provides us with tips on how children can maintain proper hygiene at school using simple and minimal steps:
Tip #1: Make Hygiene Fun and Exciting
Kids are likely to adopt hygienic habits if they enjoy doing them. Through co-circular activities and inter-house competitions conducted in schools, the importance of hygiene can be conveyed in a fun and competitive manner.
Tip #2: Hand-washing is a must!
Hand washing is an integral aspect of good hygiene. To eliminate contracting germs after playing outside or when in close contact with animals or someone who might be ill, it is essential to teach your kids to wash their hands thoroughly. Remember to let students and/or classmates understand the importance of scrubbing their hands with antiseptic cleansers, especially after using the washroom.
Tip #3: Grooming their fingernails
Fingernails are a breeding ground for bacteria. The germs that live under a child’s nails are easily transferred to their eyes, nose, and mouth. Ensure that students fingernails are clipped every week and reduce the possibility of painful ingrown nails.
Tip #4: Oral Hygiene
Proper brushing and flossing is a learned skill that can only be improved by practice. This type of oral hygiene needs to be instilled in students at an early age.
Advise your children to brush their teeth at least twice a day with fluoride toothpaste, to prevent gum diseases and tooth decay.
Tip #5: Handkerchief is their best friend!
A handkerchief should be a child’s best friend. Children should be taught to cover their mouth and face, using either a handkerchief or a tissue, while coughing and/or sneezing. Used tissues should be properly disposed and not left around.
Tip #6: Keeping toys in the playroom germ – free!
A child’s favorite stuffed toy or blanket may carry germs and therefore should be regularly washed. Other toys could be wiped with a sanitizer and then allowed to air dry.
Tip #7: Cleaning of classroom furniture
Regular cleaning of classroom furniture will ensure a bug-free learning and teaching environment. Classrooms must be vacuumed and moped every day in order to prevent rodents.
Tip #8: Foot hygiene
Sweaty feet, also known as athlete’s foot can cause fungal infection. Advice your students to use cotton-lined socks instead of ones that are made of synthetic fibers along with wearing leather and canvas shoes, allowing their feet to breathe.
Tip #9: Dealing with illness
Advise children to only attend school if they are well enough to benefit and participate. This will reduce any chance of illness spreading.
Tip #10: Stop bad habits
Remind students of the importance of practicing good hygiene. Explain that, although germs may not be visibly present, they are still found in air particles and can make them sick. Connect hygiene to illness by reminding them of the last time they were ill.