How Do Teachers Keep from Being Sick All the Time

Updated on September 13, 2010
M.A. asks from Pasadena, TX
27 answers

My son just started working in an elementary school and already has a sore throat. The children really are "in his face" since he is the speech therapist. I'm wondering what advice teachers have for him to avoid catching every little bug that is breathed on him.

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S.L.

answers from New York on

I keep a bottle of hand sanitizer close by, every time i see a child who is sneezing, coughing I remember to sanitize my hands. since he will see diff students thru out the day He could use a wipe to sanitize the table in between students. He may have to teach kids the proper way of sneezing, blowing noses. He will still catch colds but less often and maybe he'll avoid the flu!

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E.M.

answers from Johnstown on

Vitamin C, plenty of sleep, eat healthy, hand washing (avoid too much sanitizer--it can be absorbed through the skin and thus make you very sick in that process itself), dress appropriately, clorox anywhere spray &/or wipes for the desks/tables, kleenex anti-viral tissues.

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S.B.

answers from Dallas on

I agree with Allison, the first year you catch everything it seems like...then you become immune. :) Hand washing is a must. And I know many teachers who swore by using Airborne to get through the first year. GL!

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S.L.

answers from New York on

I keep a bottle of hand sanitizer close by, every time i see a child who is sneezing, coughing I remember to sanitize my hands. since he will see diff students thru out the day He could use a wipe to sanitize the table in between students. He may have to teach kids the proper way of sneezing, blowing noses. He will still catch colds but less often and maybe he'll avoid the flu!

4 moms found this helpful

J.S.

answers from Tampa on

Hi,
The first year in any new enviorment is a tough one for anyone, teacher or student. They are exposed to all new types of germs, etc, and until their bodies build up immunities against them, well, it's pretty much a given that they will get hit with several of them. Follow the simple suggestions posted already, the hand sanitizers or just really good hand washing works great, for the teacher AND for the students, eat well, get plenty of rest and sleep (a tough one for a new teacher I know), and take vitamins and suppliments like extra C, zinc, and a great one not mentioned yet is a good probiotic. Most of the bodies immune system is in your digestive tract, so taking a good probiotic to keep your digestion healthy will help in a BIG way. They are available at all pharmacies over the counter, and you can take once or twice a day. It really will help. Good luck! Also, he may want to restate to the parents that keeping their child home when they are ill is a policy that should be followed for the health of the entire class, as well as the teachers. Some parents just don't get the importance of this, and with the pressure of getting to their own jobs, end up sending kids to school who really have no business being there. (they give them motrin and tylenol, and cough syrup and hope that none of the teachers will notice that their child is too ill to be at school. Then the meds wear off 4 to 6 hrs later, and the kid feels horrible, and it is almost time to go home so most schools will allow the child to remian for the rest of the day unless they are vomiting. However, it is unfair to the sick child and now the germs have spread throughout the class and school, bus or wherever the child has been.) Unfortunatly, most of these viruses etc., are most contageous BEFORE the symptoms are present, but it does not mean that your son cannot take precautions. Good luck! Keeping himself healthy at all times will help his body stay healthy when these germs are going around! It will get easier in the following years.

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J.P.

answers from Chicago on

I was sick constantly for about the first two years, then I rarely even got a cold. It's just something he'll have to endure, but he can help himself a bit. He needs a flu shot for sure, and whenever he feels like he's getting sick, he can take zinc vitamin supplements with a meal. They shorten the cold or sometimes, help avoid it altogether!

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M.T.

answers from New York on

The first year is the most difficult, I had strep twice that first winter. He needs to be sure to wash a lot, vitamins may help, and make sure to sanitize his room, everything that gets touched - the custodians do not necessarily do a very thorough job. He should have the kids wash when they arrive for sessions, and if they borrow a pencil or something, he should let them keep it!

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A.H.

answers from New York on

he will get sick a lot the first year.. and as his body adjusts.. he will fight it off more.. teach him about using the cleaning stuff for hands... this will help him.. but kids always get sick the first year... and then as they get older they get better... good luck

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S.B.

answers from Dallas on

I agree with Allison, the first year you catch everything it seems like...then you become immune. :) Hand washing is a must. And I know many teachers who swore by using Airborne to get through the first year. GL!

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J.C.

answers from Sacramento on

I agree with others, the 1st yr is the tough one than you seem to build up immunity somehow. On my 2-3rd yr working kids I am rarely sick, Hand washing is critical and I use hand- sanitizer often too, I wipe down their tables and many surfaces off including preschool restroom sinks & vanity down several times a day w/ clorox or 409 type kitchen cleaner. Be sure to get flu shots annually too. It will get better. Hope this helps

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E.M.

answers from Johnstown on

Vitamin C, plenty of sleep, eat healthy, hand washing (avoid too much sanitizer--it can be absorbed through the skin and thus make you very sick in that process itself), dress appropriately, clorox anywhere spray &/or wipes for the desks/tables, kleenex anti-viral tissues.

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A.H.

answers from New York on

He needs to wash his hands after every class. Or about once an hour...or at least use antibacterial stuff...it will help, but it won't be perfect. It takes a few years to really develop a tolerance. i got strep throat at least 2 times a year for my first 4-5 years teaching elementary school. Wash hands constantly, its the only way. Good luck!

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A.D.

answers from Jackson on

When he feels the onset of a cold, virus or sore throat I suggest he take "Airborne." In my experience it reduces the duration and severity of a cold and viruses.
I'm not qualified to say if it's advised or effective with a strep infection, ear infection, upper respiratory infection etc... he can ask a Pharmacist, Physician, WebMD, or Google for that information.
Airborne makes me very thirsty, which seems okay to me, because standard medical advice is to drink plenty of fluids when we have a virus, cold, infection etc....
Some people experience difficulty sleeping when they take it right before sleep. If it negatively affects his sleep, he may want to limit its use to daytime and early evening.
I wish him a healthy school year,
A.

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M.F.

answers from Austin on

I'm not a teacher, but I live with two walking petri dishes. :-)

I'm a big fan of hand washing, but am not always as diligent as I'd like to be. However, a few years ago, a friend turned me on to a product called Olive Leaf Extract. Olive leaves are naturally antiviral, antibacterial, and antifungal because of a component called oleuropein. I started taking it almost three years ago, and aside from a few minor issues with seasonal allergies, I haven't been sick in three years (and I've been up close and personal with all kinds of fun illnesses).

If it helps, I order it online from a company called Ameriden (I only take one a day, though I believe the directions say three times per day). I swear by it!!!

Oh, by the way - if I start to feel a little less than 100%, or my girls are sick, I add Vitamin C, and/or double-up on my usual dosage.

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M.R.

answers from Chicago on

I am a teacher and I always joke about the '3-week sickies'. It isn't all that unusual for teachers and kids to start getting minor colds about 3 weeks into the school year. For the past three years, I've gotten a minor cold right about 3 weeks into the year, which sucks because it always coincides with a 5K I want to run and I can't ever do it LOL.

About all he can do is the basics - wash hands or use sanitizer, eat healthy, get enough sleep, and try to keep stress levels down. Oh and pray that the cold strikes on a Friday so that it'll be bad over the weekend, but good enough Monday to go back to work.

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D.R.

answers from New York on

i was sick almost continually for the first 3 or 4 years that i was teaching. and i washed my hands so much they were cracking..... then it really tapered off, i hardly ever get sick now, less so than i ever did in my life, even when all my kids are sick and coughing directly into my face all day and all the other grossness that goes with it....

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H.P.

answers from Houston on

I have spent most of my life hands on with young children and elderly people, often times in different stages of "sick". I have only been sick twice, and that was due to very specific cases of my compromised immune system. (I had some very stressful things going on, and it made me susceptible to my husband's flu two years in a row.)

Anyway, I attribute my solid immune system to a good diet and clean hands and a life of less stress (whatever that means). It's not as easy to find the balance between being too sterile (we need to be exposed to soem things just to strengthen our immune systems) and becoming a petri dish oneself. There's enough unknown danger out there that he can afford to insist on a fairly disinfected environment at work. I have even gone so far as to wear a face mask when it made me feel better. If they are literally in his face, then I don't think that a mask would be out of line at all.

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G.B.

answers from Tulsa on

Teachers have been exposed to everything there is out there and they don't get it over and over and over. That's why kids get sick when they start a new child care or school. It is how our bodies build their immune systems.

A.M.

answers from College Station on

I catch almost every thing lol! I drink lots of fluid and take extra vitamins (my doc recomended the b vitamins) Also I seen the hand sanatizer and yes he should use that, but he needs to wash his hands after 2 times if using it. They say it doesnt work if you use it with out washing. Washing about every hour plus sanatizer is a great idea.

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J.E.

answers from Tucson on

Make sure he keeps the box of kleenex and trashcan away from his desk or work area. I try to keep a student area with all of the supplies they need and my area separate for this reason. It seems to really help.

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K.F.

answers from San Antonio on

we used to call it "first years teacher's syndrome". Don't worry--he'll build up all the immunities he needs to the new bugs he's exposed to.

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C.S.

answers from Houston on

take zinc, after the first year, his body will adapt and his immune system will get stronger, drink lots of water too

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K.D.

answers from Houston on

Soap, soap and more soap! Have him make Sure that the bathrooms that kids use are fully stocked with soap....I know that seems like a simple thing, but you would be surprised at how often the soap is out.....become good friends with the janitor so that they can get on the same page! Also, tell him to keep his hands away from his face and to make sure that he is washing his hands every time he eats. The year that I was diligent about the hand washing is the year that I was not sick once!
Hope this helps,
K.

L.C.

answers from Houston on

As a M. with young kiddos who stay sick with colds from September through May, I have to be really aware of what my hands are doing. I try not to touch my face at all, rub my nose or eyes, or even bite at my cuticles ; )

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M.G.

answers from Chicago on

Really, it's unavoidable. I had a doctor tell me that it takes us teachers about three years to develop an immune system that is strong enough to not catch every little bug. I'm in my seventh year, and I still catch little things now and then. Sorry! It just comes with the territory!

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L.M.

answers from Odessa on

I have been a teacher for the past 8 years. The same thing happened to me my first year. His immune system will get stronger the longer he teaches. I would also recommend, washing and using a hand stanitizer as often as necessary. Make sure he doesn't touch his face or any opening on his body.

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R.

answers from San Antonio on

His immunity will build quickly. My parents were both teachers and both rarely got sick after the first couple of years.Hand washing is always a good idea and my partents have always been firm believers in vitamins. Good luck.

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L.M.

answers from Houston on

He will build up an imunity to it. But, for the time being tell him to get a multivitamin, get lots of rest, and eat right. First year teachers and nurses are known for catching every little bug that the little darlings bring around.

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S.O.

answers from San Antonio on

I used to work in a hospital. Was sick a lot for the first 6 months. You build up your immune system with those viral challenges, and the sickness decreases.
Vitamin C, rest, Echinacea (2 capsules a day) and hand sanitizer a lot will help.

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D.J.

answers from Houston on

There's a product called Airborne because it was developed to protect travelers from being exposed aboard airplanes. Other than that, just the standard advice for staying healthy - plenty of sleep, eat right/take vitamins. Maybe make sure he gets plenty of Vitamin C.

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