How to Stay Healthy When Colds Hit Your Classroom

Cold and flu season is upon us, and it’s time to get real. Teachers, teaching assistants, and school administrators are some of the most likely people to suffer from the common cold, as their workplaces are generally hotbeds of activity that easily spreads germs and the flu virus. You can be that teacher — the one who sprays everything down with Lysol several times a day — or you could, um, chill out. You can’t live your life in a hypoallergenic bubble, and there are plenty of sensible ways to remain healthy when colds hit your classroom. Follow these steps for a more zenlike approach to avoiding the schoolyard sniffles.

  1. Wear a SARS mask

    Well, you don’t have to take it that far. Do, however, avoid sick people — especially those germ factories known as "your students." Try also to avoid touching your face, as mucous membranes are the easiest places on the body to spread germs and viruses. Keep hand sanitizer, soap, and protective gear in your classroom and home as necessary. Disinfect desks and common areas more often than you think you should.

  2. Sleep on it

    Don’t sleep in your classroom, but do make sure to get more rest than you think you need during cold and flu peak seasons. Keep yourself on a healthy sleep schedule in order to be physically equipped to fight cold and flu germs. Well-rested people have more resilient immune systems than those who consistently lack in sleep.

  3. Make them vampire cough

    Have a student that (wrongly) insists they’re not contagious? Make them cough into the crook of their arm. Though not perfect, it’s the least likely-to-spread-disease method of suppressing a cough or sneeze. If you’re not feeling well and you’ve got to teach, make sure to control how likely you are to spread germs, too. Avoid other physical contact in the classroom, as well.

  4. Open up

    Windows make all the difference in a classroom, especially during the cold and flu months. Studies show that those who don’t pipe fresh air inside are more likely to spread harmful viruses. Teachers with a window should open it occasionally, braving chilly temperatures in order to minimize the spread of the flu virus.

  5. Be a Flintstones kid adult

    Take your vitamins. A daily multivitamin can ward off the spread of disease, and there’s no need for you to skip these supplements. Respiratory illnesses require high concentrations of some vitamins to help aid in the healing process, and having the flu drains you of much needed nutrients. A vitamin a day really can keep the doctor away!

  6. Exercise

    Physically fit people suffer from less cold and flu symptoms and infections, due to an amped up immune system. Even mild exercise has immune system benefits, and teachers should take care to stay as active as possible, especially during cold and flu season. Twenty minutes per day of walking, proper hydration, and incorporating motion into your day should give your immune system a healthy boost.

  7. Use a Neti Pot

    They’re the hippie version of Theraflu and Kleenexes. Neti pots look like small teapots, but these ancient vessels are more of an irrigation system than a beverage holder. Neti pots infuse your sinus passages with warm saltwater, and is generally safe and mostly painless. Oprah uses a neti pot, so they must be acceptale.

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