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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
Clean and Disinfect the House
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
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?
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
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.
Amy Williams is a journalist and mother in Southern California.