How To Help Your PANDAS Child Avoid Strep Infections

If your child has been diagnosed with pediatric autoimmune neuropsychiatric disorders associated with Streptococcus (PANDAS), you'll need to do as much as possible to prevent your child from getting strep infections. Your child has a high risk of having a PANDAS episode with each strep infection. According to PANDAS Network, some people report that subsequent PANDAS episodes worsen each time they have a strep infection. 

So how, exactly, can you keep your child from getting strep while attending school, especially when children are well-known for spreading germs? Here are a few things to consider. 

Teach Your Child Carefully 

Defend against the germs that are all over the school by arming your child with knowledge, tissues, and antibacterial hand sanitizer. Of course, teach your children to wash their hands before meals, but make sure they actually do it right and do it long enough to matter, which is actually scrubbing their hands, fingers, and fingernails for at least 20 seconds. Instruct them to never touch their hands to their eyes, nose, or mouth until after they've washed their hands. 

For times when washing their hands isn't appropriate, teach them to use hand sanitizers. Purchase small hand sanitizers for your child to keep in or on his or her backpack or in their locker at school. In many classrooms today, teachers have hand sanitizers readily available for their students to use. 

Of course, with severe anxiety being a symptom of PANDAS, you don't want to go overboard with teaching your child to do these things. Teach your child by setting an example in your home and out in public. That way, these safety precautions can become habits naturally. 

Get Personal-Use Musical Instruments

One more thing that can present a huge risk to your child is the sharing of musical instruments in school, such as recorders. If part of the curriculum or play time will involve the use of shared musical instruments, tell the music teacher and/or principal that your child will not be allowed to share. If necessary, purchase a personal-use musical instrument that only your child will use. 

Be sure the staff keeps it separate from the other musical instruments so there will be no confusion. It's a good idea to mark the instrument with your child's name. By having a personal-use music instrument specifically labeled for your child's use, you won't have to worry about whether or not the instrument was disinfected properly or if another student accidentally used your child's instrument. 

Install a Humidifier in Their Bedroom 

Part of staying healthy while attending school is to keep the body's natural defenses ready to combat the germs they'll face on a daily basis. One of the best ways to do this is to install a humidifier in your child's bedroom. The reason for this is because a humidifier will help keep your child's mucous membranes moist so that the membranes will be more resistant to germs.

There are cool mist and warm mist options available. While both types are effective, a cool mist dehumidifier is ideal because it won't increase the room temperature while it's being used. However, it's important to keep the humidifier clean and to allow the room to dry at some point each day so mold and mildew growth can be avoided. 

In conclusion, in a perfect world, every precaution you take will prevent your child from getting strep throat. But since the world is far from perfect, it's important to always watch your child for symptoms of strep and PANDAS so you'll be able to get your child to an urgent care clinic as quickly as possible so your child can get the antibiotics they'll need to recover from strep.