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A study published in the Journal of School Nursing found that contact surfaces such as water fountain nozzles, pencil sharpeners, keyboards, and faucets were amongst the most bacterially contaminated in classrooms while paper towel dispensers and desktops were the most contaminated with viruses.
Athena P Kurtis author of Keeping your child healthy in a Germ-Filled World claims that children gathering in schools are the primary source of germ circulation within communities. Due to their weak immune systems, infants are susceptible to bacteria and get infected. Web MD reports that an average American child will have around 6-10 colds in a year, making colds the biggest reason children miss school.
A round of antibiotics will usually be enough to relieve your child of their cold, however, having to give them antibiotics too often is worrisome. Over the years medical practitioners have noticed how quickly antibiotics are being prescribed for patients even when it is not necessary, like in the case of the flu. Influenza is a viral infection; it does not require antibiotics. It is important to distinguish between viral and bacterial infections to determine the optimal ways of curing them. Biologists warn that excessive use of antibiotics lead to antibiotic resistance and can make treating infections involved.
The WHO has declared that the world is in a ‘post-antibiotic’ era. In fact, the ‘post-antibiotics era’ is already here. The WHO claims that in Nigeria, Staph infections can no longer be treated with penicillin as the virus has evolved into a resistant strain. A particular type of resistant bacteria infects 95% of the Indian Subcontinent, bacteria that is foreign to most of the developed world as of now. Diseases such as Tuberculosis which have taken the lives of many throughout history, were curable a few of decades back, however now it is showing antibiotics resistance and can result in a fatality.
What is concerning is that antibiotic resistance is spreading much faster than the antibiotics required to counter the epidemic. Doctors often feel pressured to prescribe antibiotics to children when they feel like the parents are expecting it. Parents seem to think that antibiotics are the go-to solutions for all infections and are unaware of some of the serious side-effects that antibiotics can have. Antibiotics can trigger everything from skin allergies, shortness of breath, and severe diarrhea to even fungal infections.
As an alternative to synthetic antibiotics, parents can try and use natural antibiotics to treat mild infections. Decades ago, many infections that plague the world today did not exist. The use of antibiotics was not as widespread as it currently is and people relied on alternate medicine. These natural remedies should work as well as they did earlier without any side effects.
A quick search on the Internet will reveal many natural remedies that cure bacterial infections, many of them that are either already in your kitchen or are easily available in your supermarket. Natural antibiotics include everyday food items such as cardamom, cinnamon, and turmeric. Oils of plants like lavender, oregano and basil also contain anti-microbial properties. Honey is known for centuries to help with the soothing of sore throats. Vegetables such as onions, garlic, and horseradish all fight infections. The malic acid in Apple Vinegar Cider helps kill off germs inside your body and on the skin too.
All these ingredients can be incorporated into your child’s food, not only to fight infections that are currently affecting them but also as a preventive measure to avoid any future breakouts. By making sure your child has a healthy diet, you are protecting them from threats of infections that enter their classrooms.
Frequent hand-washing is the most underrated preventive measure. Most infections are transmitted by coming in physical contact with germs. Emphasize the importance of hand-washing to your children, so they develop a habit of washing their hands before a meal, after coughing or sneezing and after being near someone who may be ill. Give them hand-sanitizing gels to use for times when they do not have food or water to ensure they are protected.
Many feel that vaccines are limited to those that the doctor prescribes after your child is born. As more information on the root causes of diseases is revealed, the more vaccines are developed to counter them. If you come to know of an infection that is spreading, it is best to get vaccines for both you and your child. Flu Season comes around Fall and Winter, prepare your family by getting flu shots early on. Getting your child immune in advance helps them build immunity which protects them when they are faced with an infection. Children that already have weak immune systems and suffer from chronic medical conditions like asthma should get the vaccine as they are even more susceptible.
Schools should also take responsibility in keeping their classrooms as germ-free as possible. The best way of preventing infections in schools is by stopping sick children from attending until they are no longer contagious. The fear of missing out on classwork should not compel children to go to school when they are ill. Parents should instead contact school teachers or classmates if they are concerned about their child missing out on classwork. Other than that, schools can make sure that toilet stalls are cleaned at least once during school hours, and desktops are disinfected daily. If a student has been infected with something serious, other parents should be notified to get their child immune in case the infection spreads.
It is inevitable that your child is going to get ill from school, but there are precautions you can take to ensure that it does not happen too much. Using antibiotics unnecessarily can do more harm than good in the long run. Broaden your horizons as a parent and look for healthier alternatives to antibiotics. Also, make sure your child develops healthy hygiene habits to protect them from contamination. Remember that letting your child’s body fight its battles will only make them stronger in the future.
Colds Infection – All Health Information. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.all-healthinformation.com/coldsflu/colds-infection.php
ACT Government Pandemic Planning Framework. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.cmd.act.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0003/119829/act-pandemic-framew