Spread the Word, Not the Germs!

Can you believe one of the easiest and most inexpensive preventative medicine strategies is literally available at your fingertips and costs less than one penny? It is called hand washing.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC), “hand washing is the single most important means of preventing the spread of infection.” Hand transmission is a critical factor in the spread of bacteria and viruses causing disease such as colds, flu, and food-borne illness. See Tips on Hand Washing from the CDC.

According to the Henry the Hand – Champion Handwasher website, there are four important principles of handwashing.
1. Wash your hands when they are dirty or before eating.
2. Do not cough into your hands.
3. Do not sneeze into your hands.
4. Above all, do not put your fingers in your eyes, nose, or mouth.

This website also includes a song and videos that are part of their program for schools. Students are trained to stay away from the T Zone (mucous membranes around the eyes, nose, and mouth) as this is where the vast majority of diseases enter the body. In fact, These are the entry point for 100% of all respiratory and gastro-intestinal diseases. Children are also encouraged to try the sniff test; if hands smell clean, they are clean.

Stop the spread of germs that can make you and others sick! Influenza (flu) and other serious respiratory illnesses are spread by cough, sneezing or unclean hands.  In addition to good handwashing, the CDC recommends these precautions to help stop the spread of germs: To help stop the spread of germs,

  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze.
  • Put your used tissue in the waste basket.
  • If you don’t have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your upper sleeve or elbow, not your hands.
  • You may be asked to put on a facemask to protect others.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and warm water for 20 seconds.
  • If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.

Checklist to Help Prevent Violence in Schools

10 Things You Can Do to Prevent Violence in Your School Community

1. Talk to Your Children
Keeping the lines of communication open with your children and teens is an important step to keeping involved in their schoolwork, friends, and activities. Ask open-ended questions and use phrases such as “tell me more” and “what do you think?” Phrases like these show your children that you are listening and that you want to hear more about their opinions, ideas, and how they view the world. Start important discussions with your children—about violence, smoking, drugs, sex, drinking, death—even if the topics are difficult or embarrassing. Don’t wait for your children or teens to come to you.

2. Set Clear Rules and Limits for Your Children
Children need clearly defined rules and limits set for them so that they know what is expected of them and the consequences for not complying. When setting family rules and limits, be sure children understand the purpose behind the rules and be consistent in enforcing them.

Discipline is more effective if children have been involved in establishing the rules and, oftentimes, in deciding the consequences. Remember to be fair and flexible—as your children grow older, they become ready for expanded rights and changes in rules and limits. Show your children through your actions how to adhere to rules and regulations, be responsible, have empathy toward others, control anger, and manage stress.

3. Know the Warning Signs
Knowing what’s normal behavior for your son or daughter can help you recognize even small changes in behavior and give you an early warning that something is troubling your child. Sudden changes—from subtle to dramatic—should alert parents to potential problems. These could include withdrawal from friends, decline in grades, abruptly quitting sports or clubs the child had previously enjoyed, sleep disruptions, eating problems, evasiveness, lying, and chronic physical complaints (stomachache or headaches).

4. Don’t Be Afraid to Parent; Know When to Intervene
Parents need to step in and intervene when children exhibit behavior or attitudes that could potentially harm them or others. And you don’t have to deal with problems alone—the most effective interventions have parent, school, and health professionals working together to provide on-going monitoring and support.

5. Stay Involved in Your Child’s School
Show your children you believe education is important and that you want your children to do their best in school by being involved in their education. Get to know your child’s teachers and help them get to know you and your child. Communicate with your child’s teachers throughout the school year, not just when problems arise. Stay informed of school events, class projects, and homework assignments. Attend all parent orientation activities and parent-teacher conferences. Volunteer to assist with school functions and join your local PTA. Help your children seek a balance between schoolwork and outside activities. Parents also need to support school rules and goals.

6. Join Your PTA or a Violence Prevention Coalition
According to the National Crime Prevention Council, the crime rate can decrease by as much as 30 percent when a violence prevention initiative is a community-wide effort. All parents, students, school staff, and members of the community need to be a part of creating safe school environments for our children. Many PTAs and other school-based groups are working to identify the problems and causes of school violence and possible solutions for violence prevention.

7. Help to Organize a Community Violence Prevention Forum
Parents, school officials, and community members working together can be the most effective way to prevent violence in our schools.

8. Help Develop A School Violence Prevention and Response Plan
School communities that have violence prevention plans and crisis management teams in place are more prepared to identify and avert potential problems and to know what to do when a crisis happens. The most effective violence prevention and response plans are developed in cooperation with school and health officials, parents, and community members. These plans include descriptions of school safety policies, early warning signs, intervention strategies, emergency response plans, and post-crisis procedures.

9. Know How to Deal With the Media in a Crisis
Good public relations and media relations start with understanding how the media works and what they expect from organization’s that issue press releases, hold press conferences, and distribute media kits.

10. Work to Influence Lawmakers
Writing an editorial for the local newspaper, holding a petition drive, speaking before a school board meeting, or sending a letter to your legislator can be effective ways to voice your opinion and gain support from decision makers for violence prevention programs in your community. Working with other concerned parents, teachers, and community members, you can influence local, state and even federal decisions that affect the education, safety, and well-being of our children.

The Parent’s Role in Combating Childhood Obesity

Statistics show that as many as twenty-five percent of children and teens today are obese. But how does a parent know when their child is truly obese? All children gain weight as they grow older. Extra pounds – more than their body needs to support their growth and development – can become a concern.

When a child or teen is above the accepted weight range for their height and age, parents must take note. In recent years, several “adult” diseases have begun to show in children on a more regular basis, including diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol. According to the Mayo Clinic website, a parent’s role is to involve the entire family in better nutrition and more activity.

In “The Role of Parents in Preventing Childhood Obesity” by Ana C. Lindsay, Katarina M. Sussner, Juhee Kim, and Steven Gortmaker, it is argued that “interventions aimed at preventing childhood overweight and obesity should involve parents as important forces for change in their children’s behaviors.” A story from ABC News offers these practical tips for parents:

Create a family activity that involves fitness, such as walks, bike rides, or rollerblading.

Find other families in your neighborhood and schedule time for basketball, hide and seek, and other active games.

Give kids active chores around the house — vacuum, wash the car, or mow the lawn.

Limit TV privileges.

Plan a healthy diet for the entire family.

Avoid using food as a reward for good behavior or withholding a meal as punishment.

Eat meals together and pay attention to portion size.

Choose fruits, vegetables, and yogurt as snacks and avoid items high in fat, sugar, and calories.

If a child is not hungry, avoid forcing child to eat.

Parents can and must take a positive role in ensuring every opportunity for a healthy childhood for children.


Ready Kids

The Ready Kids website was developed by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to help teachers and parents prepare kids to be ready for any situation. Kids are encouraged to plan and practice. The Emergency Preparednes Tips website discusses what your child should know – including name, phone number, address, emergency contact information, meeting sites, important facts all children should know, as well as the value of role playing.