Germ Nation: Beating Germs at the Pediatrician

pediatrician germs
Image via Amanda Rodriguez

I am a firm believer in the five-second rule.

Call me icky if you must, but if my Dudes drop a fruit snack on the ground, and it's not snatched up by the dog within five seconds, I consider it fair game to go back into their own bellies — I find it less scary than anything my kids could pick up at the pediatrician's office.

There's an irony to the fact that the place you take children for their healthcare can be a serious germ factory. 

{ MORE: 6 Ways to Take Care of Yourself When Caring for an Ill Child }

Here are five tips to follow when trying to avoid the germs.

pediatrician office
Image via Amanda Rodriguez

Take your own toys.

I know, that abacus they have had in the waiting room since 1985 is all the rage for your little one, but kick it into the corner and bring out your “special doctor toys.” Just like when we travel, we've always kept a little bag of items that they only get to see when heading into the war zone. Yes, it's an advanced form of bribery, and no, I'm not above it.

newborn baby
Image via Amanda Rodriguez

Keep your infant separate.

Their immune systems are just not equipped to deal with the kind of creepy crawlies the 3-year-old set is bringing to the table. I say don't test it. You don't want your4-day-old baby to get RSV just to build up their immunities. If possible, avoid the ugly and give them a chance to do that without facing a potentially lethal disease. When hunting for a doctor's office, I encourage parents to discuss their infant waiting policy and look for one that has an infant room available. Some offices actually put babies into a room the moment they arrive to prevent them being hacked over.

waiting room
Image via Amanda Rodriguez

Schedule smarter.

If you can avoid a well appointment in the height of flu season, awesome score. If not, because your child is very young or needs vaccinations, think about scheduling. Being the first appointment of the morning will likely prevent you from spending much time in a crowded waiting room. Added bonus, provided your doctor's office does a good job with cleaning, the place will be freshly sanitized. If you can't get in then, the second best time is the first appointment following a lunch break. Germs will probably be crawling about, but at least you can expect no waiting in the waiting area.

proper hand hygiene
Image via Amanda Rodriguez

Wash those hands.

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Proper hand hygiene can keep you and your family healthier even after being exposed to a germ-infested hot box waiting room. Make hand washing and the use of sanitizers when a sink and soap aren't available, a habit that you and your children practice, and you will likely be able to ward off some of those potent pediatrician's-office-in-January germs.

sick kids
Image via Amanda Rodriguez

Call ahead.

Your doctor expects you to be on time to your appointments, and it's reasonable for you to expect the same from her. But we all know doctors, like moms, get behind. Call before you go and see what kind of wait you're looking at and ask the front office staff to adjust your arrival time accordingly so you can wait at home as long as possible.

{ MORE: When Your Little One Has Been Sick for a Long Time }

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Germ Nation: Beating Germs at the Pediatrician

Amanda has been wowing the Internet since 2008 when she launched her pretty-much-useless guide for parents, parenting BY dummies. As it turns out, her parenting advice is not generally useful for more than a good laugh, but sometimes that’s exactly what you need! Amanda spends her offline time (which is embarrassingly limited) running a photography business, working as a social media director for a local magazine, writing freelance articles about stuff she loves, wrangling her 3 little Dudes ... More

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