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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.