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Germs in the School Room

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Tierno advocates teaching children not to put their mouths on spigots when they get a drink of water. Another strategy is to send your child to school with his own water, if school policy permits it. Some schools actually encourage children to bring their own water.

For avoiding germs on cafeteria trays, your child should not eat something that drops on the tray. And if she carries hand sanitizer, she could use it after carrying the tray to the table but before eating.

8. Keep Backpacks Clean

As any parent knows, school backpacks can get pretty gnarly from long-forgotten lunches and all the other things children stuff into them. Have your child clean out his backpack regularly. Then clean the inside of the backpack periodically. Use a wet cloth or sanitary wipe to remove dripped milk and stuck-on food or crumbs. Always make sure to pack lunches in a bag or lunchbox, not loose in a backpack, to keep backpacks cleaner. And while your child is cleaning out his backpack, remind him to bring dirty gym clothes home to wash and to clean rotting food out of his locker.

9. Build Immunity

Help protect your child from inside as well as out. Make sure that she gets enough sleep and exercise, avoids stress, and eats has a well-balanced diet. Pack a healthy lunch and snacks. Encourage her to drink water at school to help keep her immune system strong.

10. Provide Classrooms Germ Supplies

Many schools are stretched financially and may not have enough items to help teachers maintain a healthy classroom. If there isn't enough soap, hand sanitizer, or tissues to go around, ask if you can donate some or encourage each parent to supply a box of tissue and bacterial wipes to build up your classroom's supply. Teachers may also appreciate small paper cups for water, colorful posters reminding kids to wash their hands, or, for younger kids, soaps with a fun smell or color to encourage lathering up.

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Reviewed on December 19, 2011

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