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Facts about How Germs Spread
Infants and preschool children are especially susceptible to colds and flu.
There are more than one billion colds in the U.S. each year, and preschool and elementary school children can get up to 12 colds per year.
Colds and flu can spread through droplets in the air when someone who is sick coughs, sneezes or talks, or by sharing objects like toys.
Children usually get colds from other children. When a cold virus is introduced into a school or day care, it can quickly travel through the class.
Some viruses and bacteria can live from 20 minutes up to 2 hours or more on surfaces like cafeteria tables, doorknobs, and desks.
Nearly 22 million school days are lost each year due to colds alone.
Tips to Teach Your Child about Cold or Flu Prevention:
Cold germs on hands easily enter the body through the eyes and nose, so teach your child to keep their hands away from their face.
Children should always cough and sneeze into their elbow, rather than hands, to reduce passing germs by hand.
Show your children how to wash their hands properly – using warm soap and water – and singing the "ABC song” to ensure they’re washing for at least 20 seconds.
A study of elementary school children showed that students who practiced good hygiene (i.e. keeping their hands clean) missed fewer days of school than students who didn't.
Consider keeping an alcohol-based gel sanitizer or hand wipes in your child’s backpack so they can quickly and easily kill germs on their hands if soap and water aren’t available.