7 tips to protect teens from back-to-school germs

·5-min read
 Teenagers gather on a school staircase
Teenagers gather on a school staircase

Kids being in close contact with each other in schools – sharing books, desks and devices – is one of the main ways germs circulate. Young people’s immune systems are less mature than those of adults, making them more susceptible to germs.

But it’s not all bad news, a few simple measures go a long way, plus new technological innovations are here to help. Brands such as ASUS are introducing antimicrobial protection to their laptops meaning germ prevention can start at your fingertips.

Here are some proactive tips to protect your teens and family.

1) Stay strong and healthy

  • Boosting the immune system - Skip the take-outs where possible – poor nutrition wears us down. Five daily portions of fruit and vegetables aids our bodies in fighting off organisms, so if you're pushed for time and your clan is clamouring for snacks, pop those hunger pangs with cherry tomatoes, grapes or carrot sticks.

  • Getting enough vitamin D - The sunshine vitamin also boosts our immune system and is especially important for those with dark skin due to scant sunlight. Vitamin D-rich foods include egg yolks, mushrooms, salmon, and canned tuna.

  • Having enough sleep - Getting at least seven hours a night is a cliché because it’s true. Sleep is when the body repairs and rejuvenates itself, so it’s important to know when to power down the computer. ASUS laptops offer up to 70% less harmful blue light compared with other brands, helping to better regulate sleep patterns.

A teen types on a silver laptop
A teen types on a silver laptop
  • Avoiding stress - Stress is also an oft-overlooked culprit. While some exam-cramming is inevitable, encouraging your child to prepare ahead of time can help reduce stress and stand them in good stead for later life. Healthy coping mechanisms such as mindfulness, CBT or workbooks can help get them through and bolster their wellbeing.

  • Get moving - Exercise is brilliant for us both physically and mentally. Try keeping kids motivated with new ways to get their heart rate up. Fun’s the most important element here – the more enjoyable the activity is, the more likely they are to stick with it. Exercising with the family helps with concentration, energy, stress management, and sleep, too, so it’s a vital part of preventing illness.

A teenager with pink hair sleeps
A teenager with pink hair sleeps

2) Stop the spread

Colds and viruses are often transmitted through touching shared objects and communal surfaces, picking up germs and spreading them via the hands to the nose, eyes and mouth. ASUS's silver ion coating on its laptops inhibits bacteria growth, but for maximum protection sanitising hands at regular intervals is still a must.

Alcohol-based rub or washing hands with soap and water’s the best way to curb manual spread. Run hands under the water for twenty seconds and rub, scrub and interlink fingers, paying special attention to fingertips.

3) Wear a face mask

It’s a good idea to always have a clean mask in school bags and encourage your child to wear one at their own discretion. Not only will it protect them from germs, but it’s the courteous thing to do in case any of their classmates’ immune systems are compromised.

And there's no need to pull the mask down for face recognition – ASUS laptops use fingerprint sensors (also protected by the silver ion coating) to securely unlock your machine.

4) Stay on top of vaccinations

Children aged 5 and older are eligible for a COVID-19 booster shot. Keeping the family up to date with vaccines is an invaluable way to protect teens and younger children this autumn.

If your child fears needles, prepare them as much as possible beforehand by asking how they feel about receiving the vaccine. Giving them the opportunity to express their feelings can reduce stress and anxiety. Breathing techniques are useful and validation and reassurance work wonders.

5) It's not always good to share...

In general sharing’s a positive thing, but when it comes to beating pathogens in public spaces, it’s a behaviour that needs careful consideration. Discouraging our youngsters from sharing drinks, food, cosmetics (especially lip balm and lipstick), calculators and even their phones should be discouraged.

A teenage boy on his laptop
A teenage boy on his laptop

6) Invest in anti-bacterial technology

Did you know that the typical handset and keyboard has around 20,000 times more bacteria than a toilet seat? Myriad microbes attach themselves to electronic device surfaces with every touch and tap. Although it’s wise to regularly disinfect phones, tablets, and PCs/Macs with antibacterial wipes, the majority of people rarely clean their devices.

Most teens have a smartphone before they turn 12, so hold in their hand the perfect place for germs to incubate. Ownership or shared ownership of tablets is common, too.

A laptop is swabbed for germs in a laboratory
A laptop is swabbed for germs in a laboratory

Thankfully, anti-bacterial cases and screen protectors are now available, offering peace of mind when it comes to back-to-school bugs. The technological advances of brands such as ASUS are also worth getting excited about, with a silver ion coating inhibiting 99% of keyboard, trackpad, palm rest and fingerprint reader bacteria across a range of their laptops.

Here’s the science part… silver ions disrupt the cells and damage their structure, preventing cell reproduction. You’ll find this feature on their Zenbook S and Vivobook models, which are designed with young people in mind.

An undeniably reassuring breakthrough in hygiene technology. The silver ion coating can withstand a wipe down too, so removing greasy pizza marks with cleansing agents won’t damage the guard’s three-year guarantee.

7) Keep your distance

Although the strict days of self-isolating are thankfully over, it’s still a sensible idea to stay away from others when feeling unwell. Teens who are feeling ill should stay at home until they have been symptom-free for 24 hours. If they have a fever in the evening it's good practice not to leave the house the next day to prevent infecting others and spreading the illness further. Two consecutive negative LFT tests is a good rule of thumb for coronavirus.