5 Tips for Handling Germs
Author: Melanie Denney
It’s a fact that our children are going to get sick with a cold or the flu. When kids are young, their bodies are still trying to build up a defense of antibodies, so getting sick and being exposed to some germs is a good thing. But how do we protect our children from being exposed to an imbalance of harmful germs that cause sickness? By being a good example and teaching your children good hygiene.
Tip #1 - A Proper Hand Washing. Teach your kids the importance washing their hands with soap and water before they eat, after they’ve used the rest room, after handling frequently touched items, and after petting animals. During a segment on ABC News, Microbiologist Christine Ginocchio of New York's North Shore-Long Island Jewish Health System Laboratories advised that an effective hand-washing session should have a good soapy lather, include vigorous friction, and last 20 to 30 seconds. You can make it fun for the kids by singing “Row, Row, Row Your Boat,” or “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star” for the duration of the hand washing.
Tip #2 - Alcohol: Gel and Wipes. Now-a-days, almost every public place you go to has, for your convenience, hand sanitizing gel dispensers and / or sanitizing wipes. Use them. Especially when using a shopping cart. Studies have shown that handles on shopping carts are one of the filthiest things, so wipe them down with a cleansing wipe. Carry your own alcohol-based hand gel or wipes for those times when soap and water aren’t readily available, like when you’re at a playground. Playground equipment is filthy too, so when you’re out with your kids, make sure you’re remembering to wipe their hands clean after they’re done playing. Make sure that your hand sanitizer and wipes have at least a 60-percent dilution.
Tip #3 - Neo to Go! When you’re out and about with your children, whether you’re at the zoo, the park, or on a walk, someone is bound to get a scrape or a scratch. Neosporin makes a triple antibiotic that comes in spray form and it’s small enough to carry in a bag, or can even be attached to your key chain. This spray-able triple antibiotic will be a quick and effective way to prevent infection.
Tip #4 - Leave the Germs at the Welcome Mat. Think about everywhere your family’s shoes have been during the day. The amount of germs collected on shoes gets tracked through the house, leaving them all over the floor. Backpacks and purses are germ-carriers too. They are set on counters, shopping carts, and they’re handled by your hands, which have touched door knobs, too. Leaving all shoes at the welcome mat and wiping down bags with wipes would be an ideal way to keep germs at bay.
Tip #5 - Cover Your Mouth and Don’t Touch Your Face. It is so easy to transfer germs. Whether transferred through the air by sneezing, or by touching things like door handles, rails, desks, and shared items like crayons, germs are generously passed around. Remembering to sneeze and cough in the crook of your elbow or into a disposable tissue, and wash your hands afterwards, can prevent the spreading of germs. Also, refraining from touching any part of your face will prevent transferring germs that you’ve picked up on your hands.
Remember that sanitizing everything too much is just as harmful as being really filthy. There has to be a good balance. Your home probably isn’t filthy, but shopping cart handles, door handles, and playground equipment are most likely filthy. Just use your own judgment and teach your kids that good hygiene not only plays an important part in their personal health, but the health of others as well.