On average, elementary school children get eight to 12 colds or cases of the flu each school year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). For the older kids, it is about half that. That's why it's important that parents, teachers and kids work together to stop the spread of germs in the classroom. Everyone can follow these simple steps to help prevent the spread of germs that can cause cold and flu viruses this school year:
Get vaccinated: Getting a yearly flu vaccine is the first and most important step in flu prevention. The CDC recommends that everyone 6 months and older get a flu vaccine each year to protect against the flu virus.
Stay home when sick: If possible, keep kids home from school when they are sick to help prevent teachers and classmates from catching their illness.
Sing and scrub: Make sure kids wash their hands the right way. They should wash frequently with warm water and soap for at least 20 seconds (the time it takes to sing the "Happy Birthday" song twice).
Do the elbow cough: Teach kids to cough into elbows, not hands, since hands are more likely to spread bacteria and viruses through touch.
Disinfect germ hot spots: The CDC recommends disinfecting frequently touched surfaces or objects when someone is ill. In the classroom teachers can use a disinfectant approved to kill cold and flu viruses on desks, computer mice and doorknobs.
"Creating a healthier learning environment starts with small actions that add up to a big impact," says Dr. Howell Wechsler, CEO of the Alliance for a Healthier Generation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping children thrive. "Parents play an important role and can lend a hand to teachers by reinforcing healthy lessons at home and donating useful items like tissues, hand sanitizer and disinfecting wipes."
To provide teachers with the resources they need to help stop the spread of germs in the classroom, the Clorox Company is partnering with the Alliance for a Healthier Generation for "Canisters for Classrooms." For every parent that takes the "Canisters for Classrooms" pledge, Clorox will donate a canister of Clorox Disinfecting Wipes to a school in need and $1 to the Alliance for a Healthier Generation's Healthy Schools Program, which creates healthier learning environments in more than 18,000 schools, reaching 11 million students across the country. To take the pledge and learn ways to help keep your family healthier this school year, visit www.CloroxClassrooms.com. Parents that take the pledge will also receive a coupon, so that they can donate disinfecting wipes and make a difference in their child's classroom, too.