Keeping kids healthy as they go back to school

Dr. Nipunie Rajapakse, a pediatric infectious disease specialist with the Mayo Clinic recommends that the technique of cough etiquette can be taught at preschool or even earlier to prevent diseases. (Photo Courtesy of the Mayo Clinic)
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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - As children around the nation get ready to return to the classroom, there is one important lesson they should learn at home. It's called cough etiquette, and it can reduce illness. Dr. Nipunie Rajapakse, a pediatric infectious disease specialist with the Mayo Clinic recommends that the technique of cough etiquette can be taught at preschool or even earlier to prevent diseases.

"The best way often is coughing into your elbow or sneezing into your elbow, especially if you don't have a tissue. This decreases the number of germs that you get onto your hands and decreases your risk of spreading them to other people," says Dr. Rajapakse.

As well as sneezing and coughing in the elbow she urges parents to teach kids how to wash their hands properly with soap and water.

“After you cough, sneeze, blow your nose, anything really, it’s really important to wash your hands as well because all of those things can provide quite a few virus particles or bacteria ending up on your fingers, and through that mechanism you could spread it to other people.”

Additionally kids should be washing their hands frequently, after using the bathroom, before and after preparing food, touching animals or food, and if their hands are visibly dirty.

Teaching your children to wash their hands frequently and encouraging them can help them stay healthy.

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