With school starting, bacteria or viruses can travel easily from one child to the next. We frequently see a rise in strep. throat and gastroenteritis about two weeks after school starts. The child brings home the bacteria, and then the rest of the family catches it.
One of the best ways to prevent illness is to make sure everyone washes their hands after using the restroom and before eating with soap and water. As much as possible, use soap and water instead of hand sanitizers to wash hands. Bacteria are becoming more resistant to hand sanitizers. Do not eat or drink after anyone, even family members.
Try to isolate sick family members from the rest of the family. Grandparents who have not been vaccinated recently against whooping cough should get their vaccinations updated. This will prevent spreading whooping cough to young children. Whooping cough is pertussis and is included in most tetanus vaccines.
Gay Fulkerson, MD, is a board certified family physician and wound care/hyperbaric specialist.