Back-to-school health on the agenda

Back-to-school health on the agenda

As children head back to school in their hundreds of thousands, parents may be concerned about how well their children settle into the academic year. But they may also have something else to worry about: the potential for picking up harmful, disease-causing microbes.

Social contact a risk

A UK survey found that children have more daily social contact than any other sector of the population, putting them at greater risk of catching infections from making contact with each other and the environment.

Regarding the environment, The University of Stellenbosch’s Department of Microbiology found that most shared surfaces are teeming with microbial contamination, putting those who touch them at risk of preventable infections. In the context of a child’s life, the following surfaces are among those that cause problems.

  • Coins: 300 000 viable microbes per 8cm2
  • Shopping-trolley handles: 100 000 viable microbes per 8cm2
  • Escalator rails: 30 000 viable microbes per 8cm2

Common ailments that arise from bacteria and viruses that children pick up from surfaces and social contact include sore throats, colds, flu, bronchitis, pneumonia, diarrhoea, conjunctivitis and infections.

Feeling unwell makes it more difficult to concentrate and healthcare professionals advise that children stay at home to avoid infecting others, which means missing lessons, sport activities and extra-curricular activities. Not only does this negatively affect the sick child, but it also disrupts learning and group activities for the entire class.

All things considered, absenteeism affects achievement at school as it puts the sick learners behind – and often makes others have to “wait” for them to catch up.

Probiotics for overall health

One way parents can take responsibility for their children’s happiness and health is to ensure their overall wellness. Using a daily immune-system supporting probiotic may help. One such is Cipla’s Entiro™, which has a pleasant taste and comes in chewable form, which can go a long way to protecting children from infections.

It has the potential to fight pathogens which cause certain infections and gastro-intestinal disorders by producing antimicrobial peptides in the gut. These peptides are sometimes even better than a number of traditional antibiotics at protecting against bad bacteria.

Supporting overall wellness is a good way to ensure that your child is happy and able to thrive in the learning environment.

For more information on Entiro, please visit


In the interest of our patients, in accordance with South African law and our commitment to expertise, MediHub cannot subscribe to the practice of online diagnosis. Please consult a medical professional for specific medical advice. If you have any major concerns, please see your doctor for an assessment. If you have any cause for concern, your GP will be able to direct you to the appropriate specialists.

Visit the official COVID-19 government website to stay informed: