It’s school time! Todd Amunrud, a pediatrician with Northfield Hospital + Clinics, offers COVID safety tips for school and day care:

• Prevention is key. Masks, cleaning and physical distance are all important to prevent spread of virus. Keep a high standard for these habits. Be firm and diligent.

• Masks for everyone over 2 years old. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends masks for all kids 2+ anytime they’re not in their own home. In general, there is no health condition that prevents a person from wearing a mask.

• Clean frequently. Be thorough, and as healthy as possible to avoid lots of exposure to cleaning chemicals.

• Enforce distance between kids. For day care, this includes pickup/drop off. When kids arrive at school or day care, they should wear masks, wash their hands, and keep distance from others. Plus, being outdoors is better than indoors.

• Model good behavior. Wear a mask anytime you’re with someone who doesn’t live in your household. Wash your hands frequently and well. Cough and sneeze into your elbow teach kids how to do this, too.

• Get flu vaccines. All kids over 6 months and all adults should get flu vaccine. Amunrud said the best time for kids is October, for longest potential protection during flu season (typically October-April).

• Don’t assume it’s allergies. A cough or runny nose should be checked out as symptoms of COVID. If a child is being treated for allergies, they should show improvement in three to seven days. They should stay out of the public (school, day care) during that time, until symptoms improve.

• Act on symptoms, not test results. If a child tests negative for COVID and is still showing symptoms of COVID, they should stay home until they have no symptoms for 10 days—including 24 hours free of fever (with no fever-reducing medication). If after 10 days they still have respiratory symptoms, they need to be seen again by their doctor.

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Dr. Todd Amunrud is a pediatrician with Northfield Hospital + Clinics.

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