Apart from nurses and doctors, no other profession is armed with the germ-butt kicking antibodies teachers develop due to our wide and consistant exposure to each illness de jour. However, sometimes our germ defenses fail us and we succumb to sickness; and tis the season colleagues! I am writing this post through a fog of aches and snot . . . I’ll spare you the details but will pass on my tips for preventing and dealing with illness:
- Drink lots and lots of water. I think this is the number one key to beating off illness. Do your best to get in those obligatory eight glasses and you will be well on your way towards a healthy winter.
- Get your sleep on. When you miss an hour or two of sleep it begins to add up in what is called a sleep deficit. Take some time this weekend (you’ll have an extra hour Sunday night!) to pay some of that deficit off. I realize thus far my tips are painfully obvious but hydration and rest are the cornerstones of avoiding the germs of sick children swarming around you all day long.
- Airborne. I know research shows this stuff has no measurable effect but it totally works for me. Several years ago I went over to a friend’s house for some indian tacos (so so so good) hand-made by his visiting mom. Turns out his mom not only made some darn good fry bread, she was also the principal at a successful Navajo elementary school. I was coming down with a little cold and she absolutely sang the praises of Airborne. We went home that night with extra fry bread, two bottles of Airborne, and a devotion to what is likely a placebo product.
- Shake the kids hands, don’t use Germex but do wash your hands before your eat and at the end of the day. Some of my more cautious colleagues leave off with the hand shaking once flu season gets into full swing. They set out the bottles of disinfectant and demand sick kids keep their distance. I take what I call the “inoculation” approach; expose yourself to the germs to build up resistance. To each his own . . .
- If you do get sick, for petesake STAY HOME. I used to believe I was honor bound to show up to school every single day and I thought if I didn’t the world would literally fall apart. The truth is your students will not only be fine without you they will be less likely to get sick if you keep your contagens at home. We need to help each other out on this one colleagues; if your buddy comes to school sick empower her to get her butt back home. Sometimes we just need permission to do what we know is actually best for ourselves. Don’t be the source of an epidemic, stay home (or at least take a 1/2 day).
What other advice do you have for teachers hoping to avoid or get through school-borne sickness?