• Vision: A Healthy Texas

    Mission: To improve the health, safety, and well-being of Texans through good stewardship of public resources, and a focus on core public health functions.
  • Texas 211

Illness and Prevention Grade Level: Second Grade

Subject: Health Education

TEKS Correlation: This lesson will teach students about ways in which germs are transmitted, methods of preventing the spread of germs, the importance of immunization, and how the body provides protection from disease. It will explain actions an individual can take when not feeling well and identify causes of disease other than germs such as allergies and heart disease. (TEKS for Health Education: 2.1.A & 2.4.A-D)

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Overview: The purpose of this lesson is to teach students how germs are transmitted, how we can prevent them from being transmitted to others and ourselves, and the actions that students can take when not feeling well.

Rational: The student will benefit from this activity because it will help them understand the importance of good personal health habits in preventing illness. They will also learn the causes of illness, and our bodies defense mechanisms in preventing illness.

Duration: 30 minutes

Instructional Objectives:

  • Students will be able to explain ways that germs are transmitted
  • Students will understand the ways of preventing the spread of germs
  • Students will understand the importance of immunizations
  • Students will be able to identify causes of heart disease and allergies
  • Students will be able to explain our bodies defense system


Books: No Measles, No Mumps For Me, Paul Showers
Cell Wars, Dr. Fran Balkwill
All About Allergies, Susan Neiburg Terkel

Procedure: Use the following questions to guide discussion with your students.

What are Germs?

Germs are very small organisms that we cannot see with the naked eye. In order to see them we need a very powerful microscope.

Where do germs live?

Germs are everywhere, they can be found in the air, on our desks, and in our bodies.

How are germs transmitted?

Since germs are everywhere it is possible to pick them up with everything we come in contact with. If someone doesn't cover their mouth when they sneeze, germs can get into the air that we breath and we can catch them. When we touch our desks we pick up germs.

Do germs always make us sick?

No. Our body has special defenses to prevent us from getting sick. These defenses are: our skin, our nose, mouth and throat, and special cells in our body.

Skin-provides a natural barrier to prevent germs from entering into our body. The only time our skin doesn't protect us from us from germs is when we have cuts. When we have cuts in our skin, it is possible for germs to enter our bodies. That is why it is important for us to clean out our cuts or abrasions when they occur.

Nose-helps fight germs because it is lined with tiny hairs. When we breath in the germs get caught in the hairs and when we breath out the germs are forced out.

Mouth-and throat also help fight germs. They are wet and sticky. Germs get stuck in our throat and mouth and don't go any further.

Fighting Cells-If the germ passes through our skin, nose, or throat and mouth and gets into our blood stream, there are special cells in our blood that fight germs. When a germs comes into our blood stream, these cells attack the germ and try to get rid of if it.

How do we prevent the spread of germs to other people?

  • Hand washing
  • Covering our mouths when we cough or sneeze
  • Wash our dishes before we use them again
  • Keep food that needs to be cold in the fridge
  • Cook foods thoroughly, especially meats

Why do we need to wash our hands?

  • Hand washing is important because it reduces the spread of germs from one person to the next. By washing our hands, we prevent germs from getting into our bodies as well as passing them onto other people.
  • Because germs are everywhere it is important that we wash our hands so we don't ingest them when we eat or pass them on to someone else.

When is it important to wash our hands?

We need to wash our hands before we do the following things:

  • prepare or eat food
  • treat a cut or wound
  • tend to someone who is sick

We need to wash our hands after we:

  • go to the bathroom
  • handle uncooked food (particularly raw meat, poultry or fish)
  • change a diaper
  • blow your nose
  • cough or sneeze
  • play with or touch a pet
  • handle garbage
  • tend to someone who is sick

What is the correct way to wash our hands?

  • Use warm or hot running water
  • Use soap (preferably antibiotic)
  • Wash all surfaces thoroughly, including wrists, palms, back of hands, fingers and under fingernails (if possible with a nail brush)
  • Rub hands together for at least 10 to 15 seconds
  • When drying, begin with your forearms and work toward your hands and finger tips, and pat your skin rather then rubbing to avoid chapping and cracking
  • Apply hand lotion after washing to help prevent and soothe dry skin
  • Have your students show you the correct way to wash their hands. Make sure they count out loud for 15 seconds. It seems like a lot longer than you would think!

What can doctors do to help us from getting sick?

They can make sure that we have all the proper immunizations. Immunizations are shots that prevent us from getting certain diseases. There are immunizations to prevent us from getting tetanus, measles, mumps, rubella, now even the chicken pox. It is really important that we get our immunizations because they ensure that we won't get the above mentioned diseases.

If we do get sick, what can we do to help ourselves get well?

  • Get plenty of rest
  • Drink plenty of fluids such as water, soups, and fruit juices
  • If you still feel sick and have a fever after a couple of days, see your doctor.

Are there any diseases that are not cause by germs?

Yes, allergies and heart disease are not caused by germs.

Heart Disease-is a disease that can be caused by many factors. Most of the factors that contribute to heart disease are: poor diet, smoking, lack of exercise, and heredity. Most of these factors you can control except heredity. If you exercise regularly, eat a healthy diet, and don't smoke heart disease should not be a concern for you.

Allergies-caused by things we come in contact with that our body sees as an enemy. When we come into contact with these things our body acts as though we are sick. Our body does this because it thinks the allergen (what we are allergic to) is something harmful to us, like germs. When we come into contact with allergens our body might react in the following way: our nose might run, we might wheeze, get hives, and itch all over.

Assessment: Have your students draw pictures about our bodies defense system, underneath the pictures they can explain the way they can help their bodies fight germs.

Modifications: Click here for activities to use with this lesson.

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Last updated July 2, 2013