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Monday, April 8, 2013

10 tips to stay healthy when working in schools

Working in a school can be terrifying for "germaphobes".  Children, and even some adults, do not have the best hygiene practices.  However, this school year I have managed to stay pretty healthy while working in numerous schools.  Here are some tips to help anyone working in schools to avoid illness.

1. Get the flu vaccine- This vaccine takes around 2 weeks to become effective and only protects against the top few flu strains that are projected to run rampant.

2. Wash your hands with soap and water- I wash my hands before I eat anything and after I touch anything deemed to be crawling with germs.  So I basically wash my hands all day, every day.  I make sure to wash my hands after touching student pencils, books, desks, etc.

3. Direct sneezes and coughs into your elbow and teach students to do the same- This helps stop the spread of germs.  The droplets from coughs and sneezes can travel 12 feet!

4. Keep hands away from face- Touching your eyes and mouth spreads germs from your fingers.

5. Stay home when you have a fever- Sick people should stay home for a week if they have the flu so as not to spread the illness.  I would rather have a sick child or teacher be miserable at home than miserable at school.  Children's undesirable behaviors often peak when they are sick as well.

6. Hydrate- Drink plenty of water and avoid caffeinated beverages that dehydrate the body.

7. Exercise, eat healthy, and get enough sleep- Easier said than done but this really helps to keep your body and immune system strong.  

8. Have a stress release- Have an outlet like exercise or journaling.  Chronic stress affects your immune system, making it less capable of fighting off infection.

9. Sip only your drink- Sharing food and drink also spreads germs.

10. Sanitize those WISC blocks- Use alcohol wipes on any frequently touched surfaces such as test kit manipulatives, doorknobs, keyboards, telephones, etc.  Some viruses can live up to 24 hours on a surface!

Bottom line: Take care of yourself or you will not be able to take care of your students! 

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