How Many Germs are Your Kids Exposed to While They're at School

A student’s school, regardless of the grade level, is a safe haven when they’re away from home. In fact, it’s a child’s home away from home, where they learn, play and grow, but even though going to school is a special time for a student, it’s not a perfect place. Because even though a school may be a safe haven for children, it’s a safe haven for germs too.

With a large population of students in a reasonably small location, it can cause a ridiculously high number of bacteria in schools. These germs can make a student sick and inadvertently make your entire family sick when they return home.

By knowing what you can about the germs that plague schools, you can learn how to reduce them and prevent you and your family from getting sick this school year.

How Many Germs are Students Exposed to at School?

Avoiding germs can be relatively impossible because everything a student does and touches exposes them to bacteria. Even a drink of water can potentially expose them to germs; according to a study conducted by the Public Health and Safety Organization, the germ count of a water fountain was at 2,335.

Even participating in physical activity or getting something to eat can potentially make you sick. A basketball, which many students have touched, had one of the highest germ count readings of 13,987 while the lunch checkout keypad had a reading of 13,144.

College dorm life is no exception for germs either. As a student is off experiencing their first taste of independence, what they don’t know, is that they’re exposing themselves to a laundry list of germs that can cause illnesses and can keep them out of the classroom.

According to another study, they concluded that the top six items that had the most germs were the following:

  1. Dish sponge
  2. Shower
  3. Kitchen sink drain
  4. Showerhead
  5. Kitchen sink handle
  6. Coffeemaker

These six items contained microorganisms like E. coli, mold, coliforms and yeast that can all contribute to illness. Even though it seems like being exposed to germs is inevitable, there are a number of precautions to take to prevent you from bringing bacteria and viruses back home with you.

Keeping Germ-Free at School

Follow these simple tips to ensure that neither you nor your family is exposed to germs while they are at school.

Constantly and Thoroughly Wash Your Hands

Whether it’s you, a student in college or an elementary student, thoroughly wash hands or use hand sanitizer after the restroom, before eating and even after breaks. Most students don’t wash their hands long enough — they should be washing for at least 30 full seconds to make sure their hands are clean.

Don’t Send Sick Children to School

If a student is sick, sending them to school will only make matters worse. They won’t be able to concentrate and they can spread germs throughout the rest of the class. If your child is sick, it’s best to keep them at home until they feel completely better to go back to school to prevent anyone else from getting sick.

Keep Disinfectant Products Handy

In order to help reduce the number of germs in a classroom, students should have disinfecting products with them at all time. They should be encouraged to use them in conjunction with washing their hands, even when they are not at school. Not only will this help keep the classroom germ-free, but it can also keep their home germ-free as well.

Teach Your Children Germ Manners

Teach your children to stay away from the children who might be sick as much as possible to prevent them from getting sick. Whenever a child feels the need to cough or sneeze, encourage them to do so in a tissue and throw it away immediately, otherwise, teach your children to cough or sneeze in the crease of their elbow as opposed to their hand.

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Peri, C. (n.d.). Germs in the School Room. Retrieved from


Murphy, A. P., & Allen, J. (2006, October 03). Schools Can Be a Hotbed of Bacteria. Retrieved from