It’s the start of the school year and also the beginning of the cold and flu season.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention students miss more than 22 million days of school every year because of the common cold alone.
Dr. Harry Banschick who specializes in pediatrics at Holy Name Medical Center in Teaneck says that young people are more vulnerable to germs because their immune systems are not fully developed.
“We tend to see an uptick in cases of strep, pink eye, lice, the common cold or flu, and foot and mouth disease once school is back in session. Parents should remind children and adolescents the importance of frequent hand washing and to remember to keep their hands away from and out of their eyes and mouths,” said Banschick.
Holy Name’s infectious disease chief Dr. Suraj Saggar stresses that it’s also important to be aware of the places where viruses and bacteria live and thrive in schools to reduce a student’s risk of getting sick.
“Water fountains, cafeteria trays, keyboards, gym equipment, cell phones and backpacks are among some of the germiest things students can come in contact with,” said Saggar. “Most diseases are transmitted by coming in direct contact with someone who is sick or by touching surfaces that are contaminated.”