In the Nurse's Office: Common Sicknesses in Schools [Infographic]

August 11, 2013
by Michael Barber
In the Nurse's Office: Common Sicknesses in Schools [Infographic]

Did you know 40% of school-age children between 5 and 17 miss at least three days of school a year due to injury or illness? Bacteria and viruses can lurk anywhere, but proper prevention can keep your kids healthy, in school and out of the urgent care. The following infographic was created to illustrate a dozen or more facts and stats about the harboring of germs inside schools and what parents and teachers can do to prevent school-born illnesses.

Common Illnesses in Schools Infographic

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School Healthcare Facts and Stats

  • In 2000, 61.9% of schools reviewed health records to help identify potential outbreaks. By 2006, this number had increased to 74.8%.
  • 76% of schools provided funding or staff development to nurses for infectious disease prevention.
  • One study revealed that only half of middle and high school aged children wash their hands after using the restroom. Just 33% of girls and only 8% per of boys used soap.
  • There are an average of 200,000 hospitalizations and 36,000 deaths each year due to the influenza virus. About 20,000 children under the age of 5 are hospitalized with flu-related complications.
  • Only 34.8% of children between 2 and 17 who had a high-risk condition received a flu shot in 2005.
  • Lunch trays had 33,800 bacteria per square inch in a 2005 study.
  • 77% of schools carried the appropriate supplies for standard health precautions.
  • School water fountains hosted 2.7 million bacteria per square inch in a 2005 study.
  • Students miss approximately 22 million school days year year because of the common cold.
  • Students miss approximately 38 million school days each year because of the influenza virus.

How to Prevent Common Illnesses in Schools

  • Teach children to wash hands regularly, particularly before eating, after using the restroom, coughing or sneezing, touching animals and touching garbage. The Mayo Clinic suggests that children that children sing "Happy Birthday" twice through while washing their hands to make sure they spend sufficient time on the task.
  • The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends hand sanitizers with at least 60% alcohol.
  • Instruct children to cover their mouth and nose when they cough or sneeze.
  • Get regular flu vaccinations for everyone in the home six months of age or older.