Healthy Habits

Keep germs at bay with these simple tips.

Germs are an inevitable part of any household, especially ones where small children reside. But an ounce of prevention truly is worth a pound of cure. Teach your family these healthy habits to prevent a winter of sniffling and coughing.

Wash hands frequently. Households that are vigilant about hand-washing stand a better chance of staying healthy. It’s not enough to simply wash hands—you must wash hands properly and frequently for the best chance of success. For best results, follow this procedure:

  • Wet hands with water and apply soap.
  • Rub hands together vigorously for at least 20 seconds, covering all surfaces, including fingernails. Not sure what 20 seconds feels like? Sing a short song such as “Row, Row, Row Your Boat” or “Happy Birthday.”
  • Rinse hands with warm water.
  • Dry hands thoroughly with a clean or disposable towel.
  • Use the towel to turn off the faucet.

Make hand-washing a household habit. Place reminders at eye level so that children learn to become consistent and habitual hand washers.

Avoid sharing objects. It’s easy to become lackadaisical about household sharing among family members, but it’s truly best to avoid it. Resist the temptation to share cups, bottles, and utensils. Teach your children the importance of using their own objects at home and school in order to avoid the transfer of germs.

Cover your mouth when you sneeze or cough. This is one of the most basic tenets of preventing the spread of germs, yet it’s often ignored or improperly applied. Most people use their hand to cover their mouth; however, this only encourages the spread of germs when we reach for a doorknob or faucet. Instead, use a tissue or cough or sneeze into your elbow or upper arm. Be sure to wash your hands frequently if you are coughing and sneezing.

Stay home. Keep your sick kids at home in order to prevent further spread of the illness.

Sleep and hydrate. We fall victim to illness when we are tired and run down. The best way to stay healthy is to stay well rested and well hydrated. Prevention is key!