Wash those hands; save yourself a trip to the doctor’s office

December 01, 2016 | by Edward-Elmhurst Health
Categories: Healthy Driven Moms

The holiday season is here, and so is cold and flu season. The last thing you want is for your kid to get sick and, before you know it, the whole family is down and out.

How can you keep those pesky germs away and keep your family healthy? There is one way. And all it takes is a little soap and water.

Keeping our hands clean is one of the most important steps we can take to avoid getting sick and spreading germs to others, reports the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Good handwashing is the first line of defense against germs. It can prevent the spread of many illnesses, from the common cold to more serious illness like the flu and diarrhea.

In honor of National Handwashing Awareness Week, take this time make regular handwashing a rule for everyone in the family. Encourage your kids to wash their hands regularly, especially:

  • Before eating
  • After using the bathroom
  • After blowing their nose, coughing or sneezing
  • After being outside
  • After touching animals, including family pets
  • After visiting sick friends or relatives

Also, teach your kids to wash their hands properly. Handwashing with soap and water is most effective at removing germs to prevent infections. Teach your kids these four handwashing principles:

  1. Wet your hands with clean, running water
  2. Apply soap and rub your hands together vigorously to make a lather. Be sure to get between your fingers and under your nails
  3. Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds
  4. Rinse your hands well and dry with a clean towel or air dry

If soap and water are unavailable, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol to clean hands. While alcohol-based hand sanitizers do not eliminate all types of germs, it’s better than nothing.

There are more ways you can help your kids avoid getting sick and spreading germs to others. Cold and flu viruses enter the body through the eyes, nose and mouth, so remind your child not to touch those areas. Teach them never to share a drink or a toothbrush. Remind them to cough or sneeze on their arm, not on their hands. And, last but not least, teach good handwashing to scrub those germs away!

Learn about easy ways to avoid getting sick this winter.

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