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Pediatrician recommends steps to stop cold, flu viruses from spreading at school

September 6, 2018

School is back in session, which means students aren’t just sharing markers, notes and science lab equipment. They’re also sharing germs.

Dr. Yesroon Patel, a pediatrician at Valley Regional Medical Center, said there are simple steps parents and students can take to stop the spread of the cold and flu viruses.

“Just like kids are coming back to school, so is the common cold,” she said.

Patel advised that children should wash their hands for 20 seconds:

>> after coughing or sneezing

>> after wiping their eyes or noses

>> after coming home from school

>> before each meal

Singing “Happy Birthday” or another short song is an easy way to ensure children are washing their hands for the correct amount of time, she added.

“It just makes it fun. It’s not a chore,” she said.

While it seems like common sense, preventive measures like hand washing make a big difference in stopping viruses from spreading, Patel said. Children can touch over 300 surfaces in 30 minutes, she said. That including objects and people with the cold virus, Patel added, and cold and flu viruses can live on a surface for up to 72 hours.

That also applies to electronic devices like the phones and tablets students use at school.

“These surfaces go with them to the classroom, to the kitchen, to the bathroom,” Patel said. “Most of these sanitary wipes can be used on these gadgets.”