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Back to school hygiene tips every kid should know

By Faeza
06 January 2017

Its January – that time of year when children across the country will be going back to school and many will be starting their school life for the first time. While school is a place where children pick up knowledge, it can be easy to pick up unwanted germs too.

“Children mix quite closely to each other, both in the classroom and on the playground. Germs can transfer easily in such situations. Most children are not as conscious of personal hygiene as they should be, which can increase their risk of falling ill and result in valuable time spent away from the classroom,” says Dr Kgosi Letlape, handwashing and hygiene advocate.

While ensuring that your children have their uniforms and back to school supplies ready for school, it is just as important that you instill good hygiene habits that will help protect them from germs that can make them sick. Parents can use these simple tips from Dettol South Africa to help their children maintain proper hygiene at school:

Hand washing is a must

Hand washing is an essential part of good hygiene. To eliminate contracting germs it is important to teach your child how to wash their hands thoroughly with soap and water, especially after using the bathroom, and before and after eating. Kids thrive on routine so build the washing hands process into a daily task.  This makes it a norm and limits the struggles of having to plead and negotiate with them to wash their hands. Dettol uses 6 easy-to-follow steps to healthy and proper hand washing to help you educate your child on healthy hygiene habits (please find attached the 6 step poster to hand washing)

Make hand washing fun and exciting

Children are more likely to wash their hands if they realise how important it is. As germs can’t be seen, or smelt, children may have trouble understanding that hands are dirty even if they look clean. Parents can come up with hand washing games or songs to make washing hands fun, and in doing so, children will more likely wash their hands.

Ensure that your child’s finger nails are clean

Fingernails are a breeding ground for bacteria. The germs that live under a child's nails are easily transferred to their eyes, nose, and mouth. Ensure that your child’s fingernails are clipped every week and that they wash their hands before and after eating their lunch at school.

Prevent the spread of germs

Teach your children good hygiene habits. Clean hands are important in controlling the spread of illness, especially during cold and flu seasons. Teach them how to wash their hands after coughing and sneezing, and after touching dirty tissues. Show children how to use a tissue to cover their mouth and nose when they cough or sneeze and teach them to put their used tissues in a bin and wash their hands afterwards.

Let your child stay at home if they are not well

If your child is unwell, keep them away from school until they are better. Children should only attend school if they are well enough to benefit and participate, and not spread their germs to others.

Helping your child to understand good hygiene will go a long way to helping you and the rest of your family stay healthy. Through the school programmes that educate learners about the importance of hygiene, Dettol is committed to changing hand washing behaviour, and aims to educate over 1.5 million learners by 2020.

*Article sponsored by Dettol