Your Stay Healthy Guide for Kids
By Lynn Langway
Your stay-healthy guide for kids. Your kids may come home from school this winter with something more worrisome than homework: sniffles, tummy bugs and even (ick!) lice. Now that students are cooped up in overheated classrooms all day, schools can be breeding grounds for any number of ailments.
You probably can’t avoid sick days entirely; according to the American Academy of Pediatrics, the average schoolchild gets 8-12 colds and 1-2 cases of diarrhea in a year, and the Centers for Disease Control reports an estimated 6-12 million head-lice infestations per year among 3-11 year-olds. But there are steps you can take to minimize the risks and keep your whole family healthier, such as washing your hands often, eating right and staying up-to-date on vaccinations. And don’t give in when the kids beg to stay up a little longer: “Getting enough sleep helps your immune system fight off whatever might be coming your way,” advises Rebecca Jaffe, MD, of Wilmington, Delaware, a fellow of the American Academy of Family Physicians.
If you want to know about staying healthy, steering clear of the typical list of school yard sicknesses and the best way to treat them, here are the health facts about five common contagions:
Colds and flu
Symptoms: Stuffy nose, sneezing, mild sore throat and cough for colds; fever, aches, severe cough for flu.
Spread by: Droplets on hands or released into air by coughs or sneezes.