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Illness and Prevention Grade Level: Fifth Grade

Subject: Health Education

TEKS Correlation: This lesson will enable students to relate the importance of immunizations in disease prevention, distinguish between myth and fact related to disease and disease prevention, list the effects of harmful viruses on the body, and explain how to manage common minor illnesses. (TEKS for Health Education: 5.4.B-E)

Overview: The purpose of this lesson is to teach students that their behavior affects the transmission, prevention, and recovery from disease or illness.

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:

  • The students will understand the importance of immunization in disease infection
  • The students will know the facts about disease prevention and the myths
  • The students will understand the effects of certain viruses on the body
  • The students will understand how to treat common minor illnesses


Book: The Facts About AIDS, Mary Turk

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

Why is it important for us to get immunizations?

It is important for us to get immunizations because immunizations protect us from getting certain diseases. At one time the measles made a lot of people sick and die. Now that we have an immunization for measles, we are protected from getting sick from it. Some other important immunizations are for: tetanus, mumps, rubella, polio, and influenza.

Myths and Facts Related to Disease Prevention:

  • Myth: It's okay for me to just rinse my hands after I use the rest room or before I eat.
  • Fact: In order to kill the germs on your hands, it is necessary to use soap and warm water. You also need to scrub for at least 15 seconds.
  • Myth: I can get AIDS from someone if they cough or sneeze near me.
  • Fact: You can only contract HIV or AIDS through bodily fluid contact not through the air.

Effects of Harmful Viruses on Body:

  • Polio: damages the nervous system. Effects can range from headache and fever to partial paralysis. Can be prevented by immunization.
  • HIV: attacks immune system's helper T Cells. Helper T cells are a type of white blood cell that helps the body defend itself against pathogens. When the number of helper T Cells decrease, it makes it difficult for the body to defend itself against attack. This makes people at risk for diseases that the body normally could fight off.
  • Common Cold: effects your nose and throat. When you get a cold, it's because germs have invaded your nose and throat which causes your body to fight back. Symptoms of the common cold include: runny and irritated nose, sneezing, sore throat, cough, and achy body.

How to manage common minor illnesses:

  • Colds: Get plenty of rest and drink plenty of fluids (water, soup, and fruit juice)
  • Skin infections: When you get a cut or abrasion, apply pressure to that area with a clean cloth in order to stop bleeding. Cleanse skin thoroughly to prevent infection.

Extensions: Polio might be discussed when doing a lesson about Franklin D. Roosevelt since he had polio.

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Last updated July 3, 2013