Both parents and caregivers want kids to be active, and school sports teams are often the activity of choice. Here are some tips on keeping kids healthy as they kick, run and dribble.
No-Sharing Zone. We teach our children to share their toys with friends, but when it comes to sports teams and extracurricular groups, sharing might have some unintended consequences: germs, bacteria and bugs.
Teach children to wear their helmets and not share their helmets. School nurse Sheramy Vandernat, RN, BNS, says that lice are often transferred when sports teams share helmets and other sports gear. The CDC provides information about preventing lice outbreaks. Visit the CDC's site to learn more.
At the start of each season, assign clean gear to each teammate. Have the materials tagged with the student's name and ask that student look after maintaining his/her gear for the season. Be sure to clean all equipment and supplies with warm water and soap at the end of each season.
The same no-sharing rule applies for other school groups that share everything from sports equipment to project supplies. Vandernat recalls a school play where all of the participants came downwith flu-like symptoms. The culprits? Close proximity and shared makeup. Bottom line, to each their own equipment and supplies.
Locker Room Rules. It's important to practice good personal hygiene in the locker room. Coaches, advise your players on the CDC's tips for playing it safe.
- Choose liquid soap over bar soap to limit sharing.
- Shower immediately after practice or games, and avoid sharing bar soap and towels.
- Use shower shoes and never share them.
- Always wash clothing after games or practice and make sure each article is dried.
- Cover any wounds, rashes or broken skin.
- Use a barrier like clothing or a towel between your skin and shared equipment, such as sauna and steam-room benches.
Time-out for Hand Washing. The importance of hand washing can't be underestimated. Coaches should encourage students to wash their hands before and after practice and games. Schools should provide natural hand soaps in locker rooms. Visit the Mayo Clinic's website for advice on proper hand washing techniques.
First-Aid First. Having an up-to-date first-aid kit and trained volunteers who know how to use it is important for all school-related functions. Natural first-aid remedies are available from All Terrain.
Hydration Situation. Ideally, every child would have his own Sigg water bottle with an ample filtered water supply for refills. If nothing else, opt for reusable containers over plastic bottles.