Parents Zone

Sneezesafe® is a health education program for schools, designed for children aged 5 to 12. Your child will be learning about ways to stay healthy and prevent the spread of viruses. That means less days away from school with illness. You can help at home by talking about what the family can do to stay well and reminding them of the simple 1-2-3 message – Catch It! Bin It! Wash It! You could also support your child’s learning by providing them with a pocket pack of tissues for their school bag, for when the need arises.

Sneezesafe® Tips

Cold or flu?

Flu or (influenza) is caused by a different group of viruses to colds. The symptoms are usually more severe and it can take much longer to recover. 1

Count the colds

Children – 5-10 colds per year.
Adults – between 2 and 4.
Adults have been exposed to many cold viruses in their lifetime, so their immune systems are usually more resistant.2

No to antibiotics

Generally, do not take antibiotics for colds or flu. Antibiotics kill bacteria, not viruses. They cannot make you get better any faster, or make you less infectious. 3

Remedies to the rescue

Over the counter medicines can help symptoms. Paracetamol for a headache. Nasal sprays for a blocked nose (saline only for children under 6). Throat lozenges for a sore throat. 4

Home help

Good old fashioned water, warm salty-water gargle, honey and lemon tea and rest can all help relieve symptoms. 5

How long?

The Happy Birthday song is the perfect length for timing hand washing. Sing it through twice. Any soap will do; it does not have to be “antibacterial”. 6

Did you know?

The average human cough can fill about three-quarters of a two-litre soft drink bottle with air and vapour, shooting out of the lungs in a jet over a metre long! 7

Home hygiene

Clean surfaces on phones and laptops, computer mouses, TV remote controls, door handles (especially the toilet), desk areas, fridge door i.e. any common items that hands regularly touch. 8

Mucus aka snot

We produce about 500 mls a day of clear fluid when we’re healthy. If you have a cold, mucus increases, becomes thick and runs green or yellow.9

Feed a cold?

Chicken soup is warm, liquid and easy to swallow. It helps keep up fluid levels and contains an amino acid called cysteine, which can help thin out mucus.10

What is good respiratory hygiene?

Viruses such as colds and flu are spread by germs that are too small for us to see.
Cold symptoms such as runny noses, coughs and sneezes spread cold germs into the air. If these germs are breathed in by another person, then they may become infected with the virus and ‘catch the cold’. Germs are also spread by hand-to-face contact and by people touching objects that can be infected and by someone wiping their nose on their hand.

Germs spread very easily, so how can we stop them?

An easy way to help counteract the spread of viruses is by using tissues correctly.


Tissues should be used in the following ways:
• For blowing a runny nose (not wiping).

• For covering the nose and mouth when sneezing.

• For covering the mouth when coughing.


It is also very important that used tissues are thrown away immediately and that you then wash your hands or the virus could still be spread by touch. Tissues are more hygienic than handkerchiefs and should be carried at all times by people who have a virus.

Did you know?

4.3 DAYS The average child in pre-school and primary school misses 4.3 days of school as a result of colds and flu each year
82% PARENTS 82% of parents believe that their children pick up most of the germs that can cause colds or flu at school or pre-school
7% CHILDREN Just 7% of pre-school children carry tissues with them every day or most days
12% CHILDREN Only 12% of children in kindergarten to Year 3 carry tissues with them every day or most days
Source: Survey was conducted by Lonergan Research on behalf of Kleenex® Tissues among 405 Australian parents of children aged 3-12 and attending pre-school, kindergarten or primary school from 4 March to 17 March 2010.
Teachers who have run the Sneezesafe® program in previous years have commented that:
  • Personal hygiene and self-help skills are a major focus in the early years and
  • Perfect timing, as students weren't safely dealing with the spreading of their germs through sneezing and coughing.