The kids have gone back to school. It is that time of year when all the bugs and germs seem to run rampant. Ben Franklin once said that “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” That saying is just as accurate today as it was when wise old Ben made the claim. With germs, the best course of action is to stop them in their tracks before they ever enter your home. Here are seven ways you can stop germs from invading your space.
- Take off shoes at the door. Shoes see some of the germiest things life has to throw at us. Don’t drag that into the home. Get in the habit of taking shoes off at the door. Not only will it save on tracking dirt into the house, but it will also help keep the germs from tagging along.
- Hand washing is an important part of keeping germs at bay. When the kids come in from school, the best practice is to send them to wash their hands. Create a hand washing station. Use a quality soap designed to kill germs from the best medical supply store for the most effective results. Keep the handwashing station supplied with hand towels so the kids have a place to dry those clean wet hands.
- Change clothes. Having school clothes and play clothes is not a new concept, but this serves two purposes. Not only does it save wear and tear on school clothes, but it also helps stop germs from school hitchhiking into the home on your child’s clothes. Studies show that the flu virus can live on surfaces like clothing for eight to twelve hours. Make it a habit to have children change from school clothes to help stop germs at the door.
- Wash items like jackets, backpacks, and hats often. Viruses and germs can easily make a home on these items. There is no way to avoid allowing any school items into your home, but you can take extra steps to battle back the germs. Toss machine washable items into the washer regularly. For best results, use the hottest water safe for the items being washed. Washing high traffic items will help keep germs knocked down.
- Sanitize any items that are not machine washable. Items such as cell phones and books collect some of the most germs of any objects our kids touch and they go back and forth and from hand to hand. Studies have shown cell phones to be ten times dirtier than toilet seats. The flu virus can live on nonporous surfaces for days. To keep these little germ factories under control, use a sanitizing wipe daily on these items.
- Get your flu shot. The flu shot catches a lot of flack but the CDC estimates that the influenza vaccine prevented 7.1 million cases of the illness in 2017-2018. Today, many schools offer flu vaccines to their students at no cost with parental consent. Having your child get the flu vaccine will help protect them from catching the illness and bringing the germs home.
- Have a plan for when the inevitable happens. When the case of the sniffles comes home with your child, you need to have a plan to quarantine the illness so it doesn’t pass around the whole family. Sharing is caring but not with the flu. Create a sick day survival kit of items you trust to deal with illness in your family. Illness will happen with kids in the house, have a plan and supplies ready for when it does.
Germs and kids go together like peas and carrots. It doesn’t have to be that way. A few steps can stop germs in their tracks and at the door. Create habits that help prevent germs from coming into your home with daily practice. Have children wash hands often with good germ-killing soap, take off shoes at the door, and encourage changing school clothes. Wash items like jackets and backpacks often and sanitize books and mobile devices. With these steps, you can help keep germs on the outside looking in.
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