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Back to School – Germs Are In the Air!

How to Help Keep Your Child Healthy All Year Round

Author Bio: Michelle, aka “New Mom” Mom of Twins, Wife, and Pharmacist

As kids go back to school, inevitably germs are bound to make their rounds, and that’s no fun for anyone! No one these days has time to be sick! Moms and Dads, admit it – you have your plates overloaded with homework help, supporting the little one’s development, possibly working full time, carpools, birthday parties, sports events, and the list goes on and on and on……

So I am here to help you out by giving five simple tips to prevent sickness in your household. I am a New Mom to twins and a Registered Pharmacist. I will save you money and time by debunking some common and expensive myths about illness prevention, and giving you cheap tools for wellness instead!

TIP 1 : Hand washing

A no brainer, right? Or is it? The length of hand washing, choice of soap, and frequency ALL matter! A tip I give my patients is to sing your ABC’s in your head (or out loud, who cares) when washing. When the song is over, you’ve thoroughly washed your hands! Soap IS necessary. It doesn’t have to be antibacterial soap, but at least use soap. Frequency is crucial. Anytime the restroom is used, after lunch, after recess, after a contact school activity – washing afterwards can help prevent illness.

TIP 2: Save money and time using the right zinc product

Parents- Please don’t waste your hard earned money! What zinc product works and which one doesn’t? Let me save you some money right off the bat. All those zinc lozenges? Forget it. You have to have one lozenge every 2 hours (who has the time for that?). Not to mention – if it’s the wrong type of zinc, it won’t even help! If you feel compelled to use a zinc product, skip the cold & flu section at the drugstore, and walk over to the vitamin section. Look for zinc GLUCONATE. For adults, take ½ tablet (25mg) with a large meal once a day and you’re good to go. FYI- zinc GLUCONATE is the only formulation of zinc that has shown promise in studies for illness prevention. Zinc HCL (hydrochloride) is a complete waste of money. For kids, they don’t need this at all. It’s just a waste of money and a risk of metal poisoning.

TIP 3: Vitamin C – yes and no.

Be honest – are you one of those people swallow a bunch of vitamin C tablets when you feel the sniffles coming on? Do you push it on your kids? Have you gotten one of those high dose “immune support products” before? Again, safety first and then saving money second. Regarding safety – doses above 500 mg per day have not been shown to be any more beneficial than the standard 500 mg per day. Also, if you take way too much, you run the risk of kidney damage. So be safe and stick with 250mg – 500 mg per day. Kids can have Vitamin C at doses of 15mg, and ages 14-18 can have 50mg once a day. Secondly, let’s talk about saving money. If you do what I advised above, you would realize those packets of super high dose vitamin C supplements aren’t good for you anyhow – so don’t bust out the wallet!

TIP 4 : Home disinfection

Did you know rubbing alcohol 70% (isopropyl alcohol 70%) is dirt cheap AND a serious sterilizing disinfectant? While you might not want to use it on large surfaces due to the strong smell, you DO want to use it on a few areas that you’ve probably overlooked. If you sense sickness coming your way, take a spray bottle of this and a rag, then go around and douse all your door handles, light switches, toilet seat flushers, sink handles, faucets, fridge and freezer handles, microwave and stove handles, stair rails, and all drawer handles (kitchen, dresser, etc). These small areas are easily over looked and are lovely vacation spots for viruses and filth. You may be disgusted at what you see on the rag when you’re done!


Seriously, people need to wake up (pun intended) to the benefits of sleep. Sleep is so crucially important that our body cannot function or live without it. There is no award, no achievement, no pride in telling yourself or your child that you can power through life without sleep. The body needs it. If you start becoming chronically tired, you set your body up for increased stressors. You can’t process information correctly, you may become irritated or frustrated easier, you lose bodily energy, and your reaction times slow. All this can lower your defense systems to incoming invaders (germs). Once the invader load has exceeded your body’s ability to fight it off, you become infected. So make sure you AND your children are making time for sleep. It’s worth it. Oh- and I totally support letting a kid go to school late once in a while if they need to catch up on sleep. Same for you, Mom and Dad – no job is more important than your health or your child’s health.

In conclusion, I hope I’ve been able to give you some ideas to think about as the weather cools. Preventing illness is cheap and easy if you are diligent! Thanks for reading and stop by my site to check out more Ask the Pharmacist Tips at We also have recipes, smart shopping advice, awesome playrooms, toy and book picks, and TONS more. I’m on twitter @NewMomHD and Facebook under NewMom HelpDesk. Hope to hear from you soon!

If you are in the Cleveland Area, watch New Mom Help Desk on WKYC Channel 3 news on 09/17/2015 at Noon (EST), and meet us in person at the Cleveland Convention Center Health and Wellness Expo on 09/26/2015 from 10a-5p (free admission!).

Have a Happy School Year!

-Michelle aka “New Mom”