Article #13: Germs and Viruses
Did You Know?
If you were to add up all of the school days missed by all of the students in the US in one year due to the common cold, what do you think that total would that total be?
a. 7 million school days
b. 12 million school days
c. 17 million school days
d. 22 million school days
Each year nearly 22 million school days are lost to the common cold alone! (Source: http://www.cdc.gov/healthyyouth/infectious/index.htm
Here’s an excuse you can try the next time you want a day off from school: schools are a hotbed for spreading germs and viruses. Then, when your request to stay home or go to a ballgame backfires and you find yourself on your way to school, or camp, or any public place where it’s likely you’ll encounter one or more people who are sick, here are some good strategies for staying more healthy throughout the year:
Keep your distance:
It’s pretty clear when a classmate, friend, or stranger is feeling sick. The sneezing. The sniffling. The runny nose. Give them the space they need to get well, and give yourself a chance not to catch anything that might be contagious.
Clean hands, clear eyes:
Step up the hand-washing during the cold and flu season. More than likely, you’re already in the habit, and considering all that you come in contact with (stairwells, desks, and keyboards), more of a good thing is better. And, while you’re at it, try to avoid rubbing your eyes, nose, or mouth to avoid infecting your own hands and what they touch. Everyone except the germs will thank you.
Best Practices for Feeling Bad:
If you do happen to catch something, try your best to cover your mouth while sneezing or coughing. Practice covering your mouth with the inside of your elbow or shoulder (called an “elephant” cough/sneeze, because the rest of your arm looks like your trunk). And see the points above. Finally, when it comes right down to it— and you are legitimately sick— it’s the right time to play the stay-home-from-school card. (Oh, and, get well soon.)
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