Staying Well When the Kids Are Sick

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Practical Defense

The common sense ways of avoiding the spread of germs are well known to most parents, but it doesn't hurt to go over them again. Sometimes, when your child is sick, you're so focused on being a caretaker that you can easily lose sight of these simple ways to avoid becoming ill.

Wash your hands frequently. If you're dealing with a sick child, make sure you wash your hands thoroughly with soap and warm water after coming into contact with the child. Make sure your hand washing is effective; a quick swish under the water probably won't do the trick.

According to The Centers for Disease Control, a 20-second scrub should be enough. A gel hand-sanitizing product also comes in handy. It can kill germs hand-washing may have left behind, or it can be used in a pinch when you can't get to a sink.

Most respiratory illnesses, like the common cold or flu, are spread through the air. When a sick person sneezes or coughs, their germs find their way into the air and can be inhaled by other people. Teach your children to cover their mouths when they cough or sneeze. You can also use a spray disinfectant to kill airborne germs.

Don't forget that germs can live on surfaces. Use disinfecting wipes or sprays to attack germs on surfaces your children frequently touch, such as computer keyboards, refrigerator handles and doorknobs.

Kids like to wrap themselves up in their coziest blankets when they're sick and these comforting objects can pick up lots of germs. Wash sick kids' bedding in hot water to make sure they're extra-clean.