Back To School Is Also Germ Time

By Nicole Hess, Contributing Writer
OSWEGO, NY – Back to school is a very exciting time for parents, children and teachers. But, it can also be a very dangerous time.

All summer long, children get used to germs inside the home and those carried by close friends and family.

However, once the school year starts, children are exposed to a whole onslaught of foreign bacteria.

The Oswego County Health Department warns parents that the most important way to protect their children is to vaccinate them.

Students of all ages should be caught up on their vaccination from kindergarten to college, local health officials said.

Vaccination is easy considering there are several health clinics in the county with accessible hours and rates for everyone.

The Oswego County Health Department has a walk in immunization clinic every Friday from 12:30 to 30:30 p.m. at the Nick Sterio Public Health Clinic located at 70 Bunner St in Oswego.

The H. Douglas Barclay Courthouse in Pulaski also holds walk in immunizations the first and third Friday of the month from 9 to 11 a.m.

A disease that is currently causing a lot of problems is pertussis also known as whooping cough.

This disease is extremely contagious but it can be prevented with a vaccine.

Without vaccination this disease can be fatal for infants, children, and even adults.

Central New York is having an increase in the number of cases of this disease.

“Pertussis starts like the common cold, with runny nose or congestion, sneezing, and maybe mild cough or fever,” said Dr. Dennis Norfleet, the county’s director of public health. “But, after one to two weeks, severe coughing begins. Infants and children with the disease cough violently and rapidly, over and over, until the air is gone from their lungs and they’re forced to inhale with a loud ‘whooping’ sound.”

The Oswego County Health Department provided these tips to avoid illness this school year:

Wash hands often to prevent the spread of germs that can cause illness

Keep hands away from your face

Keep pens and toys out of your mouth

Don’t share things like hats, brushes, and hair ties to prevent the spread of head lice

Don’t share food at the lunch table

Don’t forget to exercise and get a good night’s rest

For more information on how to keep kids healthy this school year, call the Oswego County Health Department weekdays at 349-3547 or 1-800-596-3200, ext. 3547.

For a full schedule and more information go to