Germs, Germs - Go Away!
Five tips to help keep your family’s on-the-go routine germ free
Whether you're picking up Sally from a birthday party, taking James to run errands, or heading out on a family road trip to see Grandma and Grandpa, public places can be a breeding ground for bacteria. Have no fear, we’ve found some simple steps to help keep those pesky germs at bay and put your family on the road to a sickness-free season.
Hand-washing should always be top-of-mind since it is, honestly, the experts’ number one tip for preventing the spread of viruses. This is especially important during flu season which occurs between November and March. While proper hand washing can’t take place in the backseat of the car, try to enforce a "just-in-case" bathroom visit before hitting the road where hand washing is a must. About 80 percent of communicable diseases are transferred by touch and, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDCP), proper hand washing can reduce the chances of people getting sick by roughly 25 percent.
For a hand-washing refresher, here are the 5 steps to doing it right:
- Wet hands with warm running water.
- Lather soap by rubbing hands together. Make sure to get the backs of hands, between fingers and under the nails.
- Scrub hands for 20 seconds. Have kids sing “Happy Birthday” or the alphabet twice from beginning to end.
- Rinse well under clean, running water.
- Dry using a paper towel, or simply air dry.
LOAD UP ON WIPES AND SANITIZERS
Used properly, both wipes and sanitizers are almost as effective at killing germs as old-fashioned soap and water. Clean up tables and chairs at restaurants, dropped utensils, and car seats using anti-bacterial wipes.
Sanitizer is great for disinfecting hands. Cover the entire hand including the fingers and nails, don’t rinse, and let dry. Keep one of each in the front seat and in a back seat organizer—any spot that Junior can easily reach—so they'll be able to access it themselves. Hand sanitizers also come in clip-on travel sizes so they can attach onto your child’s bag or jacket.
SKIP THE FINGER FOOD
Bring utensils to eat berries and cut-up pieces of sandwich or apple, or pack granola or fruit bars that come in paper/plastic wrapping. If the kiddies love their PB&J whole, just wrap them in a paper towel or napkin. And, if one child has a cold, pack separate snacks so there’s no need to share and transfer germs.
SAY HELLO - WITH A FIST BUMP
While shaking someone’s hand is the traditional greeting, why not teach the kids something different? Research has shown that the fist bump transfers fewer bacteria, exposing the knuckles instead of your entire palm and fingers, so germs are less likely to be transferred to the mouth or eyes.
MINIMIZE NAIL-BITING AND FACE-TOUCHING
Hands are germ factories, so you want to help keep little fingers away from noses and mouths. For food on the face, skip the alcohol-based wipes since they can be harsh and instead use skin-friendly baby wipes, or makeup remover cloths, which remove the mess without drying out skin.