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How can I prevent my child from getting ill at child care or school?

When children head off to a childminder, nursery or school, they'll be in close contact with other kids, and their bugs and germs.

You won’t be there to remind them to wash their hands or wipe their nose, so it is important to explain how they can help themselves to stay healthy.

No amount of soap, water, hand gel and tissues can guarantee a child won’t pick up a bug or two, but it can help reduce the risk.


Children need to learn to always wash hands after going to the toilet, and before they eat or touch food.

They need to know that dirty hands aren’t just ones where you can see dirt or mud, germs that cause tummy bugs or colds are invisible.

Handwashing or using sanitiser gel is also important after handling any classroom pets or on school visits to petting farms and zoos.

Washing hands frequently with soap and water, especially after coughing and sneezing, will help reduce the risk from viruses.

If hand hygiene isn't getting enough attention, for example if toilets are lacking soap, talk to the school or nursery.

Each year, awareness campaigns are run in schools for Global Hand Washing Day.

Consider letting children have age-appropriate hand gel for when they are away from soap and water.

Colds and runny noses

The government advice for stopping the spread of colds and flu also applies to children: catch it, bin it, kill it. Make sure they have tissues and know how to use them.

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WebMD Medical Reference

Medically Reviewed by Dr Rob Hicks on June 30, 2017

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