Schools can be virtual incubation chambers for germs and viruses. There is little supervision when it comes to hand washing, and children are rarely kept home when they are ripe with cold and flu germs. On the playground, mucus and saliva are freely passed from shirt sleeves to hands, followed by contact with the nose, mouth, or eyes. It is inevitable that children will bring home germs from school that can cause entire households to become infected. Sickness can be avoided, however, by setting up a few simple routines for your children to engage in when arriving home from school. Instilling in your children some healthy habits will also keep both them and your home happy and illness-free.
Make hand washing a regular part of your childrens lives. You cannot simply tell them to wash their hands on a regular basis and be done with it. For most children, this instruction translates to turning on the water and running their hands under it for less than 10 seconds. This action does little good. It is more likely to simply spread germs onto the bathroom hand towel. You must demonstrate to your children the proper method for effectively washing away the dirt and germs. They must use soap and actually scrub and lather for at least 20 seconds before they rinse. Parents should supervise this process until it becomes habitual. Whatever habits the children acquire in the home will translate to what they do during school hours.
Your Health Counts As Well
Parents can become so focused on scrubbing down dirty children that they forget many of the germs have been transferred to their own hands during the process. You must wash your hands directly after assisting children in cleaning up. Otherwise, you can proceed to infect yourself as you go through the remainder of your daily routine.
Washing hands is great for preventing infection before meals and after playtime. However, it is wise to catch the germs before they even walk through the door to be transferred to furniture or pets. Require children to use hand sanitation products the moment that they arrive home from school. Sanitizers can be wonderful products when used moderately. These kinds of cleansers are now available without alcohol. Some even include moisturizer to prevent skin from drying out after use. Parents must also keep things in perspective. Do not overuse these kinds of products, especially in regard to children. Excessive use can crack and damage skin over time. Germs are everywhere, but every individual germ is not a potential threat to your child’s health.
Tidy, Happy Homes
Most germs are transferred between people by touching common surfaces. A great way to fight the spread of illness in this way is to have regular cleaning routines that tackle the most commonly touched surfaces in the homes such as kitchen counter tops, coffee tables, and television remotes. Cleaning your child’s toys can also eliminate menacing germs that do not normally get exposed to cleaning products. Dishwashers can make fast work for the majority of plastic toys. Parents should also include blankets and stuffed animals in the regular laundry routine to prevent the spread of viruses.
Studies have revealed that an extraordinary amount of contact is made during meal times. Passing food, pouring drinks, and other common practices spread germs like wildfire. Parents should discourage the sharing of food as a defense during this vulnerable time. Meals can be chaotic in most households. Reestablishing the order around the dinner table will help to train children in healthy eating habits that will transfer to the school cafeteria.
Pediatric nurse Polly Clark enjoys writing helpful articles for parents on how to prevent illness, how to know when to see your doctor, and home remedies for common minor illnesses, cuts and scrapes. Polly also is a contributing writer at Top Nursing Programs, a great resource for aspiring nurses.
- Infographic: Dangerous Germs That Lurk Where You Work (dangerouslee.biz)