Schools promote good hygiene to prevent illnesses

PARKERSBURG -New clothes, books and pencils are staples for back-to-school.

So too are coughs, sneezes and sore throats.

Teresa Morehead, coordinator of health services for Wood County Schools, said the start of the school year often leads to new cases of allergies and colds, but it seldom produces a spike in absences.

“There’s really nothing significant,” Morehead said.

School system officials submit data to the Mid-Ohio Valley Health Department and receive a comprehensive report about a week later. Morehead said a number of people are dealing with allergies and the standard Mid-Ohio Valley crud, but there’s no extraordinary spike in school absences as result.

There were 17 reported cases of fevers and coughs and 26 gastrointestinal illnesses among students during the first week of school. That’s less than 1 percent of the school system’s 13,309 students, Morehead said.

Morehead said illnesses among the schools typically spikes in winter – December, January and February.

“Occasionally, we will have spikes or pockets of illness at a school,” she said. But that’s not to say teachers and students don’t get more cases of the sniffles when school restarts.

“When you do put a lot of people together, in certain groups you will have an increase of illness,” she said. “You also have lots of people coming together who haven’t been together all summer, and when they get together you haveystem and the health department started offering vaccines for staff members.

“Vaccination is another wa the chance to spread germs.”

Earlier this week the school sy to prevent illness,” Morehead said.

Morehead and the health department work together to promote good hygiene among schools. She said the health department supplies school nurses with fliers to remind students to practice sanitary procedures; hand washing and throwing away tissues.

“We encourage good hygiene practices,” she said.

“We are using teachable moments to encourage good hand hygiene and this is one of the best ways to keep that down.”