Getting Answers: fighting off back-to-school illnesses

Between colds, COVID-19,and the flu, how can parents prevent kids from catching these illnesses?
Published: Sep. 19, 2022 at 6:21 PM EDT
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NORTHAMPTON, Mass. (WGGB/WSHM) - Western Mass News is getting answers on back-to-school sickness.

Between colds, COVID-19,and the flu, how can parents prevent kids from catching these illnesses?

The National Science Foundation said that kids encounter 2,000 to 15,000 germs a day when they are in their classrooms. This makes them even more likely to come down with some type of sickness.

Western Mass News spoke with parents and a pediatrician about how they are dealing with back-to-school sickness.

“Once kids get back to school after a couple of weeks, we’ll see an uptick in upper respiratory infections, colds, and we are starting to see some flu,” said pediatrician Dr. John Kelley.

The rise in illness has some parents concerned. Some told Western Mass News that they are doing the best they can to fight germs before they spread.

“If the parents aren’t doing what they need to do, then what’s going to happen to your child?” asked Madelyn Reyes of Holyoke.

“The primary thing to do is, we take them to the doctor and get their physical and get their flu shots prior to coming to school,” Ricardo Sepulveda of Chicopee told us.

COVID-19 is still a threat to students in 2022. Taking a look at the latest data in Springfield, school-aged kids made up 99 of the 336 new cases over the past week.

Dr. Kelley said that with fewer COVID precautions like masks and social distancing, he expects an uptick in cases. However, there are a few things your kids can do to fight off the infections.

“Wash your hands frequently throughout the day if you’ve been outside, before you eat your meals,” Dr. Kelley said. “If anyone is sneezing or blowing their nose, they should wash their hands or use some hand sanitizer after that, whichever is more convenient.”

Dr. Kelley also told Western Mass News that the best defense against viruses is prevention. He said that keeping kids’ vaccinations up to date, getting their annual physicals, and most importantly, keeping kids home if they’re showing any sick symptoms are key to stopping germs from spreading.