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Spike in Outbreaks at School:  Healthy behaviors that can keep your kids safe

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Currently infectious rates are quite high at the school and we are seeing a lot of parents coming into the pharmacy for Tylenol or Advil for their little ones to help manage their fevers. Tylenol and Advil have been on shortage recently so we have had to compound it for parents so at least they have something to give their children. Also we have been seeing a lot of reports in regards RSV so a lot of kids presenting with issues with excess mucous production which in some cases has lead to difficulty with breathing (). On top of all that we are still in the tail end of the pandemic and are still having reports of children being being diagnosed with Covid. Abteenisim is at an all time high at schools with some schools reporting as much 25% of their students at home sick. Below you will find some tips on how you can do your best to keep your kids healthy while they are at school.

Keep your kids up to date on their immunizations

A sure fire way to minimize their risk is to make sure they are up to date with their vaccinations. It might not guarantee that they do not get sick but if they do get sick at least it will help to minimize their symptoms if they do. This is especially important with the Flu this year as it is anticipated to be particularly bad this year and I think we are finding that out now. Also ensure that they are up to date with their Covid vaccinations. I think it can be easy to forget about the Covid vaccinations with all this talk of the pandemic ending but we are still in the throws of it. They are eligible for their Covid vaccination if it has been more than 5 months since their last Covid immunization. And now kids that are 12 and up are also eligible for the new Bivalent Omicron vaccination.

Mask up at School

With infectious rates so high currently it would be a good idea for you kids to mask especially while they are not at their desk. Being younger kids are going to be more prone to viral infections and with schools being such a hot spot for infections right now it would be a good idea for them to mask up. This will help reduce the chances of them catching a viral infection. If you need a refresher on picking the right mask for your child or need tips to encourage them to wear their mask at school you can read my blog Choosing a face mask your kids will love.

Female student accepting sanitizer from an adult

Frequent hand washing and disinfecting of surfaces

One of the mainstays keeping us safe during the pandemic was washing our hands or using hand sanitizer. This is especially true of our kids who are very active and “handsy”. So it is good to remind them to keep their hands frequently. Also it does not hurt to go through hand washing techniques with your kids to make sure that they know how long to wash their hands for as well as the importance of washing properly between their fingers.

Also it is important that kids frequently disinfect their work surfaces especially their desks where they will spend most of their time. Most kids keep sanitizer by their desk to make sure they are disinfecting frequently. It is a good habit to ask your kids if they have enough supply at school as you prepare for the new school week.

Promote Healthy eating and frequent Hydration.

Encouraging your kids to eat healthy will help to keep their immune system healthy to fight off any potential infection. With halloween just passing your kids might be tempted to get their fill of candy corn then actual corn but it's important for them to eat healthy especially with the holiday season coming soon.

It is also important to keep your children well hydrated as this will help to keep their mucous barriers healthy to act as a barrier against any potential infection. It also helps to properly distribute any nutrients as well as cytokines and immune cells throughout the body to help fight any infections.

Encourage routines that promote healthy sleep

Having a healthy routine and sleep schedule will help your kids maintain healthy immune systems. When you have an infection your immune system releases cytokines to help fight off the infection. But children and adults who are sleep deprived do not produce as many cytokines to fight off potential infections. For this reason it is important for your kids to have a sleep routine that they adhere to ensure that they get a full night's sleep.

Finding balance between Digital media and Social activities

Although not directly related to the infection rates we are seeing in school currently I thought it was important to discuss digital media consumption because its use is something that accelerated through the pandemic. In my previous blog on Mental health during Covid I discuss strategies we can use to promote our own mental health.

With so much of learning being moved online over the last two years and due to mandates that were in place it is easy to live your life online. But it's not healthy if that is the main mode of interaction you have with the world. I have seen it with my own little one at home where I can see that he seems to “act out” more and be more hyper if we just give him too much digital media at home. For this reason we now restrict how much digital media he consumes at home and encourage him to do other things such as read books and take him to visit and play with his cousins.

It is important to do our best to keep him healthy and also try to give him a stimulating environment that promotes learning, social skills as well as emotional well being. There isn’t an easy answer in this environment in how to balance all these sometimes competing forces other than to say we just take it one day at a time.

If your little one is not feeling well consider keeping them at home

Importantly if Atlas is sick we keep him at home even if it is just a cold because ultimately we do not know if it is going to progress to something more serious and we want to minimize any risk to the other kids that are attending his daycare.

If your child is sick here are guidelines from Alberta Health in regards to how long they should stay at home before returning back to school.

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