When kids head back to school they bring germs, too

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — As the school year kicks off, so do the sicknesses, it happens when germy bodies are crammed into classrooms. The health department is sharing what you need to know to keep your kid healthy and learning.

When the bell rings, classrooms fill up often with more than just books and students, germs arrive too.

“It’s usually about the first week of school when kids get back together they do share some of those germs and we see general respiratory illness start to increase right at the beginning of the school year,” says Michael Wiese, an epidemiologist with the Hillsborough County Health Department.

The best way to prevent the spread of those germs is washing hands for at least 20 seconds. If you don’t know how long 20 seconds is,  Wiese suggests you sing ‘Happy Birthday’ two times.

“Making sure that kids are doing a great job with hand washing especially after using the bathroom and before eating,” says Wiese.

He also has advice for parents, if their kids do get sick.

“The number one thing that we recommend is that if your kid is sick, just keep them home from school and do go to a doctor and get them medical attention, so that the disease can be treated,” says Wiese.

If it becomes a bigger problem than just a few kids, the health department will take action.

“Very often we’ll do some messaging with letters that we’ll send home with the teachers to give to the students to take home. We really hope the parents will pay attention to those letters that we do send home so that all the instructions can be followed based on the disease that we know is causing some illness,” says Wiese.

Above all, make sure kids and parents are up to date with their shots.

“If someone wants to protect themselves and their family, vaccinations is the best way they can do that,” says Wiese.

Be sure to watch WFLA News Channel 8 from 4:30 to 7 a.m. during the month of August. Every morning, we’ll bring you a special back-to-school story to help you and your family prepare for the school year.


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