There is nothing worse than when colds and flu start going around your classroom. Spending the day surrounded by sniffles and coughs fills me with dread and the hope I’m not next. In this post, I’ll share simple ways teachers can stay healthy during cold season at school.
8 Ways teachers can stay healthy during cold season
Read on to find smart tips and simple things to do to keep yourself and your students healthy this winter.
1. Get a Flu Shot
If you haven’t already, get a flu shot. Not unlike healthcare professionals, teachers spend a lot of time around sick children. Getting a flu shot is probably the most effective thing you can do to prevent getting the flu.
2. Wash Your Hands Well and Often
Wash your hands with real soap and water. I’m not saying to ditch the hand sanitizer, but it does not clean, or disinfect, as well as real soap and water. Hand sanitizer is good in a pinch, but it shouldn’t replace regular hand washing. During cold and flu season, wash your hands well and more often than you think is necessary.
3. Get Enough Sleep
Most teachers know that getting a good night’s sleep is a key to staying healthy, but did you know that getting a minimum of 8 hours of sleep each night has shown to make a person more resistant to viruses?
4. Stay Active
Teachers are busy. When we get busy, exercise may be one of the first things to get cut from your schedule. During cold and flu season, regular exercise can help you stay healthy. Exercise reduces your stress level and can help accelerate the circulation of white blood cells, which help to fight the common cold.
5. Disinfect Everything
Keep your classroom as clean as possible. Have disinfecting wipes hand to have students wipe down desks, chairs, door handles and computer keyboards every day. If you have students with sensitivities or allergies, baby wipes are one alternative and there are several organic, chemical-free, cleaning products available at most grocery stores.
Disinfect classroom supplies. If you have class sets of scissors, pencils, markers etc. you can disinfect them in a sink of warm water by adding a capful of bleach. I let them soak for about 5 minutes, rinse, and lay them to dry on paper towels. I’ve even collected my students scissors in the past and run them through my dishwasher at home. Everything helps.
6. Remind Students Not To Share
Cold season is a very good time to remind students not to share cups, water bottles, or utensils. Remind students about how to drink from the water fountain and not to never put their mouth on it. I really prefer that students bring refillable water bottles to school and I send a note home to parents asking them to wash them each evening before sending it to school the next day.
7. Eat Well and Take Your Vitamins
Pack healthy lunches and snacks to eat at school. A healthy diet contributes to a healthy immune system which helps keep you from getting sick. Consider keeping vitamin C or Airborne in your bag to take if you feel like you are starting to get sick.
8. Reduce Your Stress
Teaching can be a stressful job. Being chronically stressed can make your immune system less effective. Take time to decompress and do things that reduce your stress levels. Reducing stress is important always, not just during cold season.
If you do get sick, stay home.
Many a teacher (I’ve done it myself) pushes through and comes to school sick because it is so much work to prepare for a sub. Or because your school’s sub budget is gone which means your class will be split, or you need to save your sick days for when your own children are home sick. I get it and I’ve been there. But, we have sick days for a reason and you don’t want to contribute to spreading colds at school. Having emergency sub plans ready to go is a life saver. I highly recommend writing generic plans at the beginning of the year so you are set if you get sick or have to stay home.
I hope you’ve enjoyed these ways teachers can stay healthy during cold season at school. Try them this winter to help you and your students avoid getting sick. Be sure to pin this post and share it with your teacher friends so they can stay healthy too!
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