Flu Season: Ways to stop school germs from coming home

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JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL/WYMT) The 2019-2020 cold and flu season has taken a toll on immune and school systems in the area. Some districts even going as far as closing to give schools a deep clean.

“The company that comes in and does the cleaning for the schools in the evening- they’re giving them some extra duties. They’re doing a little bit more thorough cleaning,” said Kelly Wagner, the Coordinated Health School Coordinator for Washington Co. Schools.

School systems are working overtime to keep students from getting sick.

“The cleaners that they’re using are specific to the viruses that we’ve been seeing in the schools,” said Wagner.

But- what can you do to help keep those germs away from your home?

“One good thing immediately at the door is taking shoes off before you enter the house,” said Amanda Ward, the Child Life Manager at Niswonger Children’s Hospital.

Ward says another germ culprit is your child’s backpack.

“That’s an item for parents to really concentrate on to just make sure that your cleaning those thoroughly,” said Ward.

She suggests switching to a non-fabric backpack.

“Another great option during cold and flu season is the vinyl backpacks or the plastic backpacks,” says Ward. “They’re just more easily cleanable with the disinfecting wipes and the Lysol sprays.”

But Wagner says the cleaning shouldn’t stop there.

“Don’t use the same cup, change your toothbrushes often, don’t share towels with someone that’s sick,” said Wagner. “If you’re in the bathroom, you want to use paper towels rather than handtowels. But wash everything often.”

Wagner says washing items in warm water with bleach or laundry disinfectant is the most beneficial. But- washing your hands is the best preventative measure.

“Watch what you’re touching- doorknobs, faucets, anything that you can touch that someone else can touch, you want to wash your hands often,” said Wagner.

The Center for Disease Control says that flu activity is expected to continue for several more weeks.

The Tennessee Department of Health is also encouraging everyone to wash their hands frequently with warm soap and water, get the flu shot and if you show any symptoms- stay home.

“If they’re sick you definitely want to keep your children home,” said Wagner. “If they have a temperature- you want to keep them home until they are fever-free for 24 hours without the use of medication.”