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Smiles at Fairfax Corner
4210 Fairfax Corner Ave W, Ste 220, Fairfax, VA 22030

School Wellness Guide: Staying Healthy in the Classroom

Kids are exposed to germs every day, and the place where they’re exposed to the most germs is school. After all, at school, you’re packed into the same inside spaces, breathing the same air all day. Going to school every day doesn’t mean that you’re destined to get sick, though. It’s possible to be an involved classroom citizen without contracting every illness going around the class by following some simple health advice.

Practice Healthy Hygiene

The easiest way to maintain health while going to school is just by washing your hands. Wash your hands every time you use the restroom, go outside, eat, or blow your nose. A quick wash isn’t enough: Sing “Happy Birthday” to yourself twice every time you wash your hands. For times when you can’t go wash your hands, you can use hand sanitizer. In fact, students should keep sanitizer in their desk or locker, in their backpack, and in their pencil case or notebook. Basically, wherever you are at school, you should have hand sanitizer within easy reach. The most effective hand sanitizer is alcohol-based. Students should use their sanitizer whenever they touch shared classroom objects, including pencil sharpeners and water fountains.

Another part of students keeping themselves and their classmates safe is being careful when they sneeze or cough. It’s important to cover your nose and mouth each time you sneeze or cough. It’s best to cover your mouth with a tissue. Keep small packs of tissues with you just like you keep sanitizer with you. If it’s not possible to use a tissue, then you should sneeze or cough into the bend of your elbow. Covering your mouth or nose with your hand is better than nothing but shouldn’t be your first choice. Whether you use a tissue, your elbow, or your hand, after sneezing or coughing it’s important to use hand sanitizer to make sure that you don’t end up spreading germs. In general, no matter how often you’re washing or sanitizing your hands, it’s also a good idea to keep your hands away from the eyes, mouth, and face.

Food Safety in the Classroom

Students love to share, but sometimes, sharing isn’t a good idea. At school, anything that goes into your mouth shouldn’t be shared. This includes silverware and water bottles. You should wash your hands before eating; if that’s not possible, you should use hand sanitizer. Lunches can also make kids sick. Most schools don’t have refrigerators or microwaves available for students to use to store or reheat their lunches, so all food that goes into the lunchbox needs to be cold or hot and then kept cold or hot. Cold food needs ice packs, and hot food like soup should go into an insulated bottle designed to hold in the heat and should go into the container when it’s very hot.

Getting Enough Sleep

Students need to get enough sleep, and most middle and high school students don’t. Kids between kindergarten and sixth grade need around ten hours of sleep each night, middle-schoolers should get about nine hours of sleep, and high-schoolers need about eight hours. Sleep is important because kids who don’t sleep enough struggle in school, get sick more easily, have behavior problems, and crave junk food. They often experience mood swings, too. One way to make sure to get enough sleep is to establish a bedtime routine for school nights and stick to it.

Taking Care of Your Mind

Screen time is fun, but everything in life needs limits to maintain good mental health. Aside from when you’re doing your homework, screen time should be limited to about two hours a day. There are lots of reasons for this, but one is that screens give off light that interferes with the body’s natural circadian rhythms, which can make it harder for you to fall asleep and stay asleep. Healthy minds require enough sleep, but they also require restful sleep. It’s also a good idea to keep up with non-screen-related hobbies. Some kids love walking the dog, others like to cook, and some love to read. Everyone needs some sort of stress-relieving activity that keeps them away from screens and makes them happy.

What to Do When You Start Getting Sick

Tell your parents or guardians when you start feeling ill. As soon as the first symptoms appear, an adult needs to evaluate how serious they are. All of the normal things that help you stay well can help you feel better, too: It’s more important than ever to get plenty of rest, drink lots of water, eat healthy foods, and follow good hygiene practices.

When to Stay Home From School

Schools have guidelines about when a student must stay home. Usually, any child with a fever, vomiting, or diarrhea must stay out of school for a specific number of days. Serious coughs or changes in breathing are another reason to stay home and seek medical attention. Pain can also be an indicator that you shouldn’t go to school. Outside of school rules, it’s up to parents whether a student should stay home or go to the doctor so they can recover as soon as possible.

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4210 Fairfax Corner Ave W, Ste 220, Fairfax, VA 22030

(703) 997-0928

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