Swine Flu. These are two words that we all know and fear. The start of the school year always increases the amount of germs that your child will be exposed to and this year, more than ever, schools are taking every precaution for the safety of your child. Teachers are being asked to clean daily with disinfectants, have hand sanitizer available for all, and teach and re-teach the proper methods of coughing, sneezing and washing hands. We worry about your children just like you do and when I was watching the news the other day I heard one tidbit about the prevention of swine flu that I found fascinating. A Daycare director was being interviewed about what they are doing at their school to prevent a Swine Flu outbreak and along with all of the precautions that we all know; they take each child’s temperature BEFORE entering the school building. IF there is any fever present, that child is not allowed in. This sounded so simple to me, but in most elementary schools the sheer number of children would prevent the taking of every child’s temperature before entering the school. This is where you come in. We teachers know that many, many, many working parents when faced in the morning with a slightly ill child will give a dose of over the counter medication to relieve the fever and then send the child off to school. We know this because it is a daily occurrence in most classrooms once the flu season hits. The problem with this method is that although it may buy you a few hours to settle things at your workplace, your child’s medicine wears off mid morning and then they usually feel miserable and only want to be home! Keep in mind that your child has now infected not only every other child in the room, but the teachers as well. If you add a few moments to your morning routine to include taking your child’s temperature, not only will you save your child from feeling sick at school, but you will be preventing the spread of sickness in the classroom. Now is the time to be sure that you have a contingency plan in place in the event that you just can’t miss work and your child IS sick with a fever. We are all hoping for the best but preparing for something different. Take care of your child’s health and of those around him/her.