Kids are Back In School, Along With Their Germs. Are You Ready for Cold and Flu Season?

Mother With Sick Child

Today, I’m feeling a bit like that mom. Just 3 days into her 7th grade year, my 12-year old daughter came home from volleyball practice, feeling a tad under the weather. With a pat on the head and a “you’ll be fine”, I shipped her right off to a friend’s pool party that same night. When I arrived for pickup, my daughter was the last to descend the stairs, eyes glazed over, throat red with sores, head burning with fever, shivering in the chilly night air.

I could feel the other parents’ eyes accusing me – gee, thanks for infecting my kid with your kid’s germy germs.

Believe me, I wasn’t the only one dragging their kid into immediate care the next day for the gag-inducing throat swab tests and armfuls of prescriptions. My daughter has never had strep throat, but not even a week into the new year, already it seems to be running rampant through the schools. I wonder what other illnesses are in store for us ahead…

Does our attitude toward germs and cleanliness determine how well equipped we are to survive the cold and flu (and strep throat) season?

Why Germ Personality Goes a Long Way

A little dirt don’t hurt – typically, that’s the way I feel about germs and cleanliness. According to the Kimberly-Clark Professional Germ Personality Quiz, I am a Safe Seeker. I have a “moderate anxiety about germs and illness, together with a strong desire not to harm the environment or cause other ill effects through the use of chemicals”. Which is a really nice way of saying I’m not as clean as I probably should be.

Although part of my job description involves educating you on how to establish a healthy and safe environment for your workers and clientele, I must admit I don’t always practice what I preach. Until now, that is. Strep throat was a pretty good wake up call. By changing our own hygiene habits, we can influence others to adopt good hygiene practices as well.

What’s Your Germ Personality?

Prepare Now for Cold and Flu Season in Schools

No matter the Germ Personality type, how can we encourage all students to practice good hygiene habits? For one, good hygiene habits should begin early and be reinforced often. Thankfully, there’s a program called The Healthy Schools Project, designed to address students at every level, for continued, targeted illness prevention education from kindergarten through college.

Students, teachers, staff and parents all suffer when germs come to class. Absences are linked to lower achievement and higher school dropout rates – 189 million school days are lost each year to the common cold. When a sick student touches a door knob, desk or other surface, they leave behind germs that remain viable for up to 48 hours, infecting others. The Healthy Schools Project offers hygienic solutions for “hot spots” that go beyond the restroom to break this cycle.

Why the Healthy Schools Project Works

  • Simple to implement, with unique materials and product solutions for K-5, middle school, high school and university campuses.
  • Easy and engaging, based on a simple protocol of “Wash, Wipe and Sanitize” and reinforced by on-site communications materials.
  • Easy to fund, with most or all of its implementation covered by existing facility supply funds.

What’s your Germ Personality Type, and how do you plan on protecting yourself and your students from germs this season? Tell us in the comments section below.


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Kirsten DeHaai

Director of eCommerce Marketing at HP Products Corporation
Kirsten DeHaai is the Director of eCommerce Marketing for HP Products, a distributor of facility maintenance supplies throughout the Midwest. Kirsten has more than 8 years of experience in eCommerce development, brand management, online marketing and communications.