Fighting School Bacteria

As kids head back to school, homework isn’t the only thing they will be bringing home.  In addition to crumpled papers and someone else’s lunchbox, kids are going to be coming home covered in germs.  With summer waning, summer colds are still going strong.  And, let’s be honest, Texas has 2 seasons: summer and not summer.  Until the mercury stays below 90 degrees (so, January?) summer colds seem to spread like wildfire through the classroom.  Starting school is tough enough with early wake-ups and lots of homework; staying healthy will help jumpstart the year and get the whole family off on the right note.

Sick kid with high fever laying in bed and mother taking tempera

Now, a pop quiz – since it is back to school time – of the dirtiest places in the school.


Bathroom Doors vs. Toilet

If you guessed the bathroom door, you would be correct.  While many germ-a-phobes practice the hover-or-cover method to protect themselves from the germs on the actual toilet, they are mostly strengthening their quads instead of warding off the nastiest of germs.  In fact, the inside of the bathroom is regularly cleaned by what should be considered saints – elementary school janitors – while the bathroom door lays victim to all the kids who don’t wash their hands.  The door becomes a petri dish of bacteria that makes the science department squirm in disgust.  For sanitation purposes use a paper towel to push the door open when leaving or use an anti-bacterial upon exit.


Cafeteria Utensils vs. Cafeteria Trays

Cafeteria trays should be used for nothing other than sleds in the snow.  Well, except that this is Texas so cafeteria trays have absolutely no use.  As you may have guessed, these trays carry serious germs since they are rarely sanitized between meals, and carry many more germs than the utensils.  If you must use one do not place items such as apples or bread slices directly on the tray.  After grabbing the tray, and before eating, students should sanitize their hands prior to picking up their food and eating.


Desks vs. Textbooks

All the kids reading this are hoping textbooks are the correct answer so there is a legitimate excuse to no longer use them.  However, desks are the real germ factory.  Since students rotate in and out of the desks all day sneezing, drooling (first graders, I am looking at you), and touching the surfaces, desks become a breeding ground for lots of nasty illnesses.  While ditching the desk isn’t an option, being smart about sanitation is.  Wiping down desks between students can be an effective way to protect the spreading of germs.  Students can also use preventative measures such as sneezing away from their desk and washing their hands frequently to prevent bringing germs home.


Sports Equipment vs. Drinking Fountains

C – All of the above.  Yes, the dreaded trick question.  Sports equipment, such as helmets and hats can easily spread lice among students.   Students then bring it home and spread it to siblings and parents. Then you have to burn your house down.  There is no bouncing back from a lice infestation. Don’t be forced to burn your house down.   Drinking fountains are also incubators for germs since they are wiped down less frequently than bathroom doors and cafeteria trays.  The rubber cover is the elementary school cootie-catcher.  Remind your kids to not place their mouth over the cover, and to let the water run for a few seconds before gulping down the water.



Back to school germs are as bad as homework on a Friday night: nobody has time for that!  Runny noses, sneezing, and watery eyes are the school day germ trifecta of misery.  Preventing school day sickness should not require extensive studying.  Hopefully this pop quiz didn’t prove to be too stressful, and in addition to (hopefully) a passing grade, you gained some tips to prevent making school-germs home-germs.

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