Back to School: How germs spread

Back to School: How germs spread

by Dr. Jeff Pernica, infectious disease specialist

Germs are tiny living things that exist everywhere in the world. They’re on the inside and outside of our bodies, in the water, on animals, and in the soil. They can be both good and bad for us. When germs inside our bodies are not supposed to be there, we become ill.

Germs spread through the air in sneezes, coughs, or even breaths. They can also be passed from person to person by touching each other or common objects and surfaces. School is an ideal environment for germs to spread and multiply because there are lots of people together in the same place. Since children’s bodies aren’t fully mature, they’re not able to fight off germs like adults and can be more vulnerable to illnesses caused by germs. This is especially true for babies, who are at highest risk.

Follow these tips to prevent the spread of germs:

  • Always sneeze or cough into your elbow
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after using the toilet
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth
  • Stay home if you’re sick so you don’t bring germs to work or school
  • Clean and disinfect common surfaces and objects, including bathroom and kitchen counters and toys
  • Get all recommended vaccines, especially the flu vaccine every year


You can get more back to school information and tips, from our booklet below.