The scare of the swine flu, or at least the threat of the swine flu, has gotten many people concerned, from parents and health care personnel to government officials, including those who work within the public school systems. So, are there any benefits to homeschooling when dealing with this “epidemic”? Yes!
All flues are viruses and can spread rapidly from one person to another, if proper care is not given. When one is in an area that holds many individuals on a daily basis, your chances of contracting a virus (illness) greatly increases. What better place to spread germs than a school building. In my area, our smallest school holds 600 students. This is a specialized school and is the oddity not the norm. Most of our schools hold over 1000 students. With numbers that high, it is highly unlikely that if a virus, any form, comes into it that it would not spread rapidly through the system. On the other hand, with homeschooling, we have a much smaller pool of individuals. Even if you have a large family, such as the Duggars, you still have a lot less chance of catching a bug than someone who is exposed to 1000 individuals on a daily basis. No, as homeschoolers we are not isolated, but we have a much better control over our exposure to anything harmful or potentially harmful.
There is further good news. We have the ability to do a few common sense and inexpensive things to prevent the catch of not only the swine flu but other viruses as well.
1. Frequent hand-washing! This is by far the most effective way to prevent the spread of germs. It is far easier to wash hands frequently when you have access to sinks without having to obtain a hall pass.
2. Have a “hands off the face approach”. Only put your hands to your face to eat and to bathe. Otherwise, keep them off. This keeps you from spreading an illness that is on your hand and letting it get into your system via your mouth, nose or eyes. It is easier to remind your young ones of this when they are insight of you.
3. Gargle twice a day with warm salt water or Listerine. This actually helps with stopping the swine flu virus (H1N1) from proliferating. Here you just have more freedom to choose when and also to choose to do it more often in a homeschool setting.
4. Drink lots of warm liquids as possible. This has the same effect as gargling. This is a HUGE advantage to homeschoolers. You cannot drink inside of classrooms, but only during breaks while going to another classroom. In addition, warm drinks would be most difficult to come by in such a short time span. While homeschooling, a child can sip on hot chocolate, hot tea, or even warm broth.
5. Clean your nostrils at least once everyday with warm salt water. Blow your nose hard each day and follow by swabbing both of your nostrils with a q-tip dipped in warm salt water. This will cut down the viral population drastically.
6. Give a boost to your immune system by consuming foods rich in Vitamin C. If you take a Vitamin C supplement, make sure it has Zinc in it to help with the absorption. It is far easier to eat a variety of vitamin rich foods when you are home and not relying on food given by the school system or from packing (since packing foods limit the type you may take with you).
Many of the above can still be done by public school students, however it is far easier for homeschoolers to do this when the children are with us and we are not in a rush getting them ready for school, out the door, back home for dinner, homework, and bed time routines.
The swine flu, as with any virus, if you get it must run its course. There is not any medication that actually cures any virus known to man. Tamiflu does not cure but prevents the proliferation of the virus further, thus shortening the life span of the virus. The same can be accomplished by the above six items. If you do come down with a virus, stay home from all outside activities. Your body needs time to fight the virus and others, although they love you, really do not wish to share your germs.
For a discussion on this topic and others, please go to our discussion forums at http://forum.homeschool.com/forum/forum_topics.asp?FID=51.
The above recommendations come from Dr. Ashutosh Mundkur.
Written by: Susan Harris
Homeschool.com News Editor