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Ask the Patch Pros: About Avoiding Kid Illnesses, Ailments

The start of school brings the first round of illnesses spread from student to student. Ask our experts what to watch for and how to prevent illness and injury.

With a few weeks of school under our belts, the first signs of cold epidemics are sweeping through local elementary schools.

And the germs spread to parents and workplaces.

Each school year seems to kick off rounds of illnesses -- from colds to pink eye. Then there are other problems that seem tied to the end of summer break -- head lice spreading or playground injuries.

Unsure how to head off some of these maladies? Want to know what signs to look for to contain health and hygiene problems?

To address these questions and more, we've recruited some pros. In the comments, ask them your questions about illnesses likely to spread, and how to prevent them..

Participating pros are:

• Brian Coppess, associate principal, Urbandale High School.

• Karrie Vander Sluis, DC, chiropractor, of Vander Sluis Chiropractic, Urbandale.

• Barb Allen, RN, retired school nurse, Johnston.

• Jason Bradley, Doctor, naturopathic physician, Washington Street Wellness Center, Iowa City.

• Dr. Brianne Day, physician, Mercy Waukee Clinic

Maria Houser Conzemius September 12, 2012 at 09:32 PM
Brian Morelli, I remember a young high school student who proved that things like meningitis germs actually proliferate in anti-bacterial soap. Her science study of anti-bacterial soap won a science award and she went on to study at Harvard. I am allergic to anti-bacterial soap and so is my daughter. I use it if I have to and nothing else is available in a public bathroom, but I make sure I rinse every bit of it off or I will get hives.
Maria Houser Conzemius September 12, 2012 at 09:38 PM
Whoa! Anti-bacterial is potentially harmful to everyone, not just me. Triclosan, an ingredient in anti-bacterial soap, actually impairs muscle function, including the muscle function of the heart: http://gizmodo.com/5934895/your-antibacterial-soap-could-be-harming-you
Jessica Crouch September 13, 2012 at 03:25 PM
Wow - lots of great discussion and ideas so I feel no need to repeat :). Working in natural health and wellness, I second all the natural, non-toxic suggestions for prevention and shortening/lessening colds, allergies, flu, etc. If you would like to go the green, natural, non-toxic route, please reply for more details or explore www.ChooseToImprove.com. Here's to a healthy school year!
Brianne Day September 13, 2012 at 04:12 PM
This article takes the study way out of context. To look at the effect of muscle function in mice, they actually injected the triclosan directly into the mouse's abdomen, at very high doses. This is in no way the same as the very small concentrations that are found in antibacterial hand gel, that are only used on the skin. If you injected detergents from regular soap directly into your body, you'd probably notice some problems too! The best defense against illness is handwashing. Whether that;s old-fashioned soap and water, or the more convenient hand sanitizers, just make sure your hands are clean, especially before and after eating, sneezing/coughing, etc.
Barb Allen September 13, 2012 at 08:53 PM
B.A.,You can go on the CDC website ( www.cdc.gov/pertussis) to hear what a whooping cough sounds like. It is very distinct and recognizable. Children are not the only ones who can contract Pertussis. It is very prevalent among middle school age kids. I recommend all adolescents and adults receive a booster as a preventative measure.

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