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Battle the Bug

As part of a cross-country tour with an exhibit now at Lincoln Park Zoo, Illinois School Nurse of the Year Donna Rehm is sharing tips for keeping kids healthy at home and at school.

Rehm, pictured here, wrote the following guest entry for the blog:

"As a school nurse and a mother of two, I love every opportunity to share tips with other mothers on keeping kids healthy. Most people are not aware that cold and flu season occurs year round – not just during the winter.

Summer is the perfect time to work on healthy habits so that kids are ready when school starts back in the fall. I have teamed up with the folks at Kleenex Anti-Viral to help educate moms and kids on staying cold and flu-free.

The Kleenex Anti-Viral Battle the Bug exhibit is at the Lincoln Park Zoo now through Sunday featuring interactive, educational games for kids to help increase their knowledge of flu fighting tools and tips. I encourage you to come out and see us and have fun while learning.

When asked what I do to keep my family and the students at school cold and flu-free, I have several 'pearls of wisdom' that I like to share:

Wash your hands often - especially before eating, after using the restroom, and after playing outside. I like to teach the “Happy Birthday” method. Sing “Happy Birthday” twice while washing your hands with soap and water. This will take you 15 to 20 seconds which is the recommended amount of time to get your hands clean.

Use facial tissues when you sneeze -The Center for Disease Control encourages using facial tissues when you sneeze, cough or blow your nose to minimize cold and flu viruses. However, these viruses can live up to 24 hours on regular tissues so using something like Kleenex Anti-Viral, which is the only tissue that’s specifically designed to kill 99.9 percent of cold and flu viruses in the tissue, is a good flu fighting option. They even have these little blue dots to distinguish them from regular ones. This is great for moms who are constantly picking up family members' used tissues.

Get Plenty of Rest and Drink Water: I also encourage moms and kids to get plenty of rest and drink adequate fluids – this is effective in helping to boost your immune system.

Don’tcome to school when sick : A local Kleenex Anti-Viral survey revealed that 86 percent of moms agree that their child has gotten sick at school due to their 'under the weather' classmate. With this in mind, I ask moms to please keep kids home when they’ve come down with the cold and flu – that way they are not spreading bugs to others.

Remember that reducing the spread of viruses is beneficial to everyone – healthy kids are happy kids. I hope to see everyone at the Lincoln Park Zoo. If you can’t make it to the zoo, check out www.battlethebug.com for more info on combating cold and flu bugs year round!

Got a question for me? I’d love to hear from you. Feel free to comment on this post and I’ll be sure to get back to you!"

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