If one positive thing can be said for the worldwide lockdown in 2020, it would have to be how minimal common illnesses like colds, strep throat, bronchitis, and the flu were. Many have commented how the time spent at home and wearing masks on the occasional public outing prevented them from getting their usual seasonal ailments.
Now that we are beginning to see a sense of normalcy in day-to-day life return, with many places lifting mask mandates and the vaccine easily available for all eligible groups, we now have to fight against the “everyday” illnesses once more. While colds and antibiotic-treated infections are typically not concerning, there is still worry over flu season. Over a year into the pandemic, hospitals have been given a chance to recover, and excluding some exceptionally bad outbreaks in scattered locations, most hospitals have not reached capacity since the beginning of the pandemic. With a potential resurgence of the flu this coming winter, it is imperative to prepare and keep ourselves protected- as well as prevent hospitales from reaching capacity so those in need can receive proper care- not only from COVID, but the flu as well now.
To help students, educators, and parents alike prepare and maintain school safety, we wanted to share a few tips and tricks:
1. Keep moving
Regular movement increases the flow of white blood cells in your body, as well as aids in longer and more peaceful sleep periods. (Sleep is essential for a healthy immune system!) Exercise during the business of the work week can seem like a daunting task, so do what you can! A twenty minute walk around the front yard is still movement, and that’s what counts.
2. Monitor your vital signs
Getting in the habit of checking your vital signs can be a huge help in catching illness early, giving you more time to stock up on needed medicine and get some extra ZZZs. Some good basics to have on hand are a thermometer, a pulse oximeter, and something to check your blood pressure with, whether your preference be digital or manual. To ensure all members of school are monitoring their symptoms and keeping a health report, administrators may want to consider introducing a software such as QManager. Though our claim to fame is through dismissal software, you can also use QManager to capture student and staff health status and later run daily health reports.
3. Add new items into your diet
While fruit and veggies are the obvious way to boost your immune season during flu season, there are also some other foods and beverages doctors recommend:
– Greek yogurt
– Ginger tea
– Green tea
– Ginseng tea
– Whole grain bread
– Wild salmon
4. Respiratory etiquette
We’re sharing this one with your students in mind! Make sure tissues are readily available for students and for the younger ones who may not know, make sure to share the rule of sneezing or coughing into the elbow or shirt sleeve. It’s much harder for germs to travel on fabric as opposed to hands that are touching everything! A plentiful supply of hand sanitizer or soap and water is also a must for enforcing proper germ etiquette.
5. Have a sick plan in place
A positive of the past year almost two years has been the acceptance to stay home if you are feeling ill. Employees feel more comfortable calling out and students feel more comfortable having to miss a day of school to recover. However, a student coming in to school sick can still happen. Whether it be because the guardian was unaware or symptoms didn’t appear until the middle of the school day, a student with some form of illness is bound to walk through the doors. If this happens, have a plan in place. Consider keeping travel-size hand sanitizers and tissue packets on hand specifically for sick students. (Or if you’re a parent reading this, consider sending some in your child’s backpack.) This allows them to stay safe and avoid touching the supplies everyone else touches. Consider having an area where a desk or two can be moved so the sick student(s) can maintain a safe distance. (These tips are intended for students who may come to class with a runny nose or slight cough or other minimal ailments.)
We hope these come in handy as we shift into the colder months. Stay safe!