Keep Your Child Healthy: Be a Germ Warrior

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Keep Your Child Healthy Be a Germ Warrior

Germs are quite literally everywhere. They are indoors and outdoors and already on us and in us. These tiny microorganisms are mostly non-threatening to us.  On the other hand, there are many types of germs and some can lead to illness. Children can be susceptible to germs simply due to their habit to touch and explore surfaces. Nevertheless, parents can better protect their children from falling prey to infectious germs by becoming a germ warrior and taking measures to safeguard them against infection.

Teach Children Good Habits

From an early age, a child should learn the importance of hand washing.  Hand washing can remove many potentially infectious germs that might easily end up in their nose or mouth.  While parents can encourage hand washing at home, they should also instruct their children to wash hands at school or when playing at someone else’s house.

Clean and Disinfect the House

cleaning to stop germs

Soap and water will wash away a myriad of germs.  Keeping a clean and sanitary house is one way a parent can help protect their child from germs.  Kitchens and bathrooms need to be disinfected on a regular basis to guard against dangerous germs that may linger in such places.

If your cleaning skills aren’t up to snuff you can always hire cleaning services to help you out. Professional maids will disinfect your house from top to bottom. Also, remember to periodically wash children’s toys with soap and water to rinse away germs that may be hiding on their surfaces.

You Can’t De-Germ the Playground 

playground germs

The playground is a rather large petri dish of multiplying germs.  It’s rarely cleaned and children continuously bring their germs to it.  One doesn’t have to ban children from enjoying outdoor playground equipment, but it is important to tell them to refrain from touching their mouth or any part of their face while they are playing at the park.  When finished playing on the playground apparatus, they should immediately wash their hands to avoid infecting themselves with potentially infectious germs.

Want to Pet the Goats?

goat germs

Who can resist petting those sweet animals at the petting zoo that seem perfectly tame and eager for a cuddle?  Why would a parent ever want to deprive their child of this sweet animal encounter?  One reason is that animals don’t seem to mind where they lay down for rest—proximity to fecal matter, for instance, doesn’t really seem to bother them the way it would us.  Since fecal matter is a prime place to find dangerous germs like E. coli, one begins to see how easy it would be for a goat transfer this germ to a child’s hand.  True—many a germ-fearing parent will avoid the petting zoo at all costs; however, you needn’t deprive your children of the experience.  Simply have anti-septic wipes at the ready to wash their hands right away.

Sharing is Good, but Not for Everything

drinking germs

It’s a good idea for parents to discourage the sharing of beverages like juice boxes or bottled drinks.  Germs that lead to cold and flu may be multiplying in a playful child that has no outward symptoms of illness—yet.  The simple act of sipping on that child’s straw will likely cause that errant sipper to come down with the virus as well.  Similarly, forks and spoons should not be shared either in order to minimize the spread of germs.

We all have to build up immunity to the germs around us.  Moreover, it will never be possible to eliminate all contact with harmful germs.  On the other hand, we can greatly minimize the risks for our children by following these tips.  We can stop germs from multiplying by not allowing them the opportunity to spread; by keeping surfaces clean and washing hands, we can go a long way to stopping germs in their tracks before they can lead to illness.

Disclosure

Amy Williams is a journalist and mother in Southern California.

Comments

  1. Mary Slagel says:

    I really like the phrase used in the beginning “germ warrior”. I am not a parent myself so I’m not as uptight about germs as most parents are. I worry about germs for myself and for the other children I spend time with and I know when I become a mother I am going to carry every germ killing napkin, towlette, and substance I can. But the petting zoo I thought was an interesting thought. I know animals are dirty. I always make a point to wash my hands after touching animals I am not familiar with, but I didn’t wash my hands for E. Coli. I hadn’t even figured that in to the equation, but I am glad you pointed that out. There are plenty of things that are out there that we don’t all think about, but we need to be aware of.

  2. Susan Cooper says:

    It is so important to teach our children to really good habits when it comes to cleanliness. I have never thought about petting zoos but I can only imagine how many germs are floating around there. 🙂

  3. I’ve read here and there that a correlation exists between a rise in asthma and the tendency to take germ-fighting to an extreme.

    • That’s very interesting. I did not know that. I try to fight germs but I’m not gonna go nuts if they don’t sanitize every sec. I hear it helps the immune system to come in contact with some germs.

  4. Yes yes yes I agree 100% I always wash my hands when I go to the toilet and before handling food and such but so many people don’t and children need to learn this from a young age

  5. Elizabeth Scott says:

    As a mom I always worry about my children getting ill. Germs are out there and there is nothing I can do about it except teach my children proper techniques. One of my biggest pet peeves is using water fountain. My children have their own water bottles to use at school.

    • I so know what you mean. Although they say the more germs they come in contact with the less it will effect them.

  6. Stefan Thornton says:

    Ensuring that employees wash their hands properly after using the washroom is very important in reducing disease transmission of stomach “flus” (which really is not a “flu” or influenza) and other gastrointestinal infections. Using soap and lathering up is very important (rinsing hands in water only is not as effective). Use comfortably warm, running water. Hands should be washed for a minimum of 15 seconds – longer if the hands are visibly soiled. To help people (especially children) wash long enough, one option may be to sing a short song such as “Happy Birthday” or “A, B, C” twice. The idea of surgeons scrubbing for an operation (as on TV) is very similar.

  7. Washing hands often is good practice for everyone.

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