10 Ways families can stomp out germs at home
What do you love about winter? Snuggling under blankets, sitting by a fire or nights in with the family watching movies? Well, we know there is something all parents hate about winter — the yucky germs that get passed around from family member to family member!
This year face the cold and flu season head on with a good defence – plenty of hand cleaning and hygiene. If your hands are dirty, a good wash is needed, but hand sanitisers are excellent for those hidden germs. The World Health Organisation recommends using an alcohol-based solution if hands are not visibly soiled as “It is faster, more effective, and better tolerated by your hands than washing with soap and water”. 1
We’ve got ten great ways you can help stop your little army of soldiers from spreading nasties, and hopefully keep you healthy too to get on with your busy days.
1. Let’s sing
We all have to wash our hands, so make it fun! A good handwash should take 40-60 seconds1 so sing something like “Hey Diddle Diddle” or “Happy Birthday” so the little ones know they’ve been scrubbing with soap for long enough.
2. See it, do it
Remind everyone in your family to clean their hands after using the toilet. A bright and colourful poster on the back of the door might be the perfect reminder for everyone including guests.
3. Healthy meals
We don’t just mean what you eat but how you eat! Pass a bottle of hand sanitiser around the table before you pass the salt.
4. What’s mine is mine
If you have little ones try not to let younger kids share cups, bottles or cutlery with siblings or their friends. This will help stop the spread of germs via body fluids like saliva.
5. Drop off the germs
Daycares and schools can be hotspots for colds and flus and other nasty germs. Make sure you are all using a little hand sanitising solution before and after you do drop off and pick up.
6. Gentle reminders
Have frequent visitors? Place a hand pump bottle of sanitising gel near the front door where they might remove their shoes — sometimes seeing it can encourage use.
7. Here, there and everywhere
If you and the kids are always on the run you might benefit from keeping small bottles of hand sanitiser in your backpacks and handbags, and in the car for a quick clean after sports, a park play or shopping (those trolleys are a minefield!).
The next time you’re cleaning the house give common yet often forgotten surface areas a hygienic wipe down e.g. laptops and desktop keyboards and mouse, all phones, tablets and game consoles etc.
9. Let Mother Nature do the work
When it’s cold we tend to hibernate, but when you can, crack open the doors and windows to let in some fresh air and sunshine and refresh the house.
10. Rest, rest, rest!
If the soldiers are down, let them rest! Everyone should take sick days and recuperate, and yes, that includes parents. The longer you are sick, the longer those germs hang around!
Hand Hygiene: Why, How & When? [Internet] World Health Organization. August 2009 [cited May 2015]. Available from: http://www.who.int/gpsc/5may/Hand_Hygiene_Why_How_and_When_Brochure.pdf