Don’t Let Germs Hitch a Ride Home From School

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(BPT) – As a new school year gets into full swing, parents know that along with library books, art projects and worksheets, their kids often bring home a ton of germs. As students travel on the school bus, sit in the cafeteria, and participate in classroom studies, they can pick up viruses and bacteria. By simply touching their desks and lunch tables and swapping school supplies with classmates, kids are likely to bring home germs from school, and then spread them to family members.

“Visiting Nurse Associations provide critical support in flu prevention through immunization clinics and providing educational resources to families, caregivers, schools and community centers,” says Tracey Moorhead, president and CEO of the Visiting Nurse Associations of America (VNAA). “With school back in session and flu season looming, it is important for parents to be aware of germs that can pass from school to home, and everywhere in between. VNAA and its members are proud to partner with The Clorox Company and Say ‘Boo!’ to the Flu to create healthier communities this cold and flu season.”

Seasonal flu activity can begin as early as October, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). That’s why it’s important for parents to start taking preventative steps to stop the spread of germs that can cause cold and flu now, so they are prepared for flu season when it is at its worst.

To keep kids healthier at school and prevent them from bringing viruses and bacteria home, follow these GERM-fighting tips and say no to G-E-R-M-S:

G … Get vaccinated
The CDC recommends that everyone 6 months and older get a flu vaccine each year to protect against the flu virus. Get vaccinated before flu season peaks by locating a clinic that offers flu vaccines in October or November, like VNAA and Clorox’s annual Say “Boo!” to the Flu vaccination events.

E … (Do the) Elbow cough
Teach kids to cough into elbows, not hands, since hands are more likely to spread bacteria and viruses through touch.

R … Reach for disinfecting wipes
Who knows what germs kids bring home on their backpacks or lunchboxes and spread onto surfaces in your home? The CDC recommends disinfecting surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with germs like the flu. It is important for parents to wipe germ hot spots around the house that are touched most frequently – like doorknobs, light switches, faucets, high chairs or plastic toys – with a household disinfectant, like Clorox(R) Disinfecting Wipes, which kills 99.9 percent of germs that can live on hard non-porous surfaces for up to 48 hours.

M … Make hand hygiene fun
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).

S … Stay home when sick
Schools can be petri dishes of learning. If possible, keep kids home from school when they are sick to help prevent teachers and classmates from catching their illness.

For more information on how to prevent the spread of germs, visit