I love a planned vacation, I love the week that I take off, knowing I am going to relax and have “me time”. But sometimes the “vacations” aren’t planned or relaxing, actually they are the exact opposite. You wake up and the sore throat you had at work is now a fiery burn every second or your sweating and shivering at the same time. You know exactly what it is, you’re SICK! The next thing is what I call the “blame game”, as therapists we immediately think “which kid was it?”, “I knew that sneeze got me”, or even the “Did I clean that toy after the CLEARLY sick kid?”.
Working with kids, it’s inevitable, YOU ARE GOING TO GET SICK. These kids have little to no ability to cover their mouth when they sneeze and they are probably drooling all over the toys and you. Decreasing the chances of you getting sick is all up to you. Below you will find my go-to list of ways I stay healthy and dodge as many germs as I can.
- Airborne- I SWEAR by this UP and DOWN. When you start to notice people around you getting sick, pop an Airborne daily. If you feel the slight tickle in your throat, pop an Airborne. If a kid sneezes next to you, pop an Airborne. Basically pop them daily and it will help keep your immune system up and ready to fight the germs.
- Wash your hands- I know it’s silly to even have to say it, but sometimes you get busy. Seeing kids everyday back to back, you may not have time to wash. But make the effort. Stop and wash your hands between kids, before you eat, or whenever there is a sink near by.
- Sanitize between hand washing- If you touch a toy that you’re not sure has been washed, spritz some sanitizer in your hands. When a kid sneezes, have them sanitize their hands and you sanitize yours.
- Clean your toys, work-space, and devices. So many hands, so many germs. Most of the hands do not get washed as many times as yours. Clean your entire area at the end of the day and between kids. Any time you finish with a toy, wipe it down. Clean your phone, tablets, and computers. Especially if they are in the work-area.
- Eat in an area that is away from the area the kids may be (break room, office, etc.)- I know this one is hard as many therapists, eat while they work. But try to get away, even if it’s with your post wiped-down computer, to a spot that is more “adult-centered”. Even with all the cleaning, sanitizing, and hand washing, your work area has a lot of germs. So inviting them to enter your mouth through food is asking for the bug to get you.
- Send sick kids home- 100% the most important one is not letting the sick kids near you, the toys, or the therapy place. A sick kid spreads germs which will be transferred to you and other kids. When you see a kid that looks sick, they probably are.
While we can control ourselves, with the list above, it’s hard to control the parents who may bring their kids to therapy even when they are sick (see number 6). A lot of time they truly don’t know when they shouldn’t bring their kid to therapy. Sometimes with the attendance policies, parents do not like to risk their child’s therapy. Plus because we are all AMAZING therapists, or striving to get there, the kid’s need us and their parents know that. So I have created a resource for you to share with your parents in order to keep everyone sick free.
Stay healthy everyone,