Most parents think of germs as the world’s biggest enemy. Wherever we go we take with us soaps, sprays, wipes and all sorts of sanitizers. Here’s something you probably never knew, plenty of germs are harmless and can even help keep your children healthy. Doctors now say that keeping children germ free and completely clean is not such a good idea. Kids growing up in a home that’s too sanitary may not be able to fight an illness when real bacteria come because their immune system is not prepared to fight it. When a child is born there is no immune system but as the child grows it learns from exposure. This does not mean that keeping clean is a bad thing, there has to be some sort of balance. Here are a few tips on do’s and don’ts of hygiene.
1. The most likely way to attract germs is through your hands. Your hands are constantly moving and then spreading the germs all over until you wash them off. Obviously you should wash your child’s hands when they look dirty and before meals, but you should also wash them after leaving crowded areas so the germs don’t stay. When it comes to washing hands the way you do it is more important than what you do it with. You should rub their hands together for 15 seconds with soap and warm water. A good idea is singing songs at the time or buy a scented foaming soap to distract them.
2. Antibacterial soaps are not any more effective than regular soaps when it comes to protecting from illness. Antibacterial soaps kill bacteria but they do not kill viruses. Alcohol based sanitizers are very effective at killing both bacteria and viruses. The good thing about these sanitizers is that you can use them whenever you don’t have a sink like in the park. The sanitizer should have 60 percent alcohol and apply enough to rub them for 15 seconds. These sanitizers are safe for babies and children but should be placed out of their reach and applied only by adults. Remember that the sanitizer kills germs but does not remove any dirt.
3. Researchers say that playing outside boosts a child’s immunity. So occasionally allow your kids to dig in the sand, and to crawl around in the grass. Casual contact with organisms that live in the soil help your child’s immune system grow and develop teaching it how fight off any germs that are harmful.
4. When we clean and get rid of dirt that does not mean that were getting rid of the germs. When you wipe down your kitchen with a cloth it looks clean but has invisible salmonella growing, so all you did was spread the salmonella all over. Try changing dishcloths at least once a week and washing your cutting board every time after it was used.
5. Not sharing germs with family is almost impossible so let everything go. Siblings have so much contact with each other that sharing a drink is not going to make such a big difference in spreading germs but be careful with you and your baby sharing. Your mouth contains more bacteria than a child’s, so don’t put something in your mouth and then give it to your child. It’s impossible to stop children from sharing germs with their friends but try to avoid it as much as possible.
6. Every germ that enters your child’s body teaches their immune system how to fight their intruder more powerfully and more effectively. So as long as you’re taking proper care of your children and they’re eating right, sleeping enough and they are updated on their vaccines, they’ll get through the colds, fevers, and everything else and they’ll grow stronger with each one.
7. After you did everything that you can, sit back and let them have fun. Enjoy watching them play in the mud.