I love the classic storybook tale, Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer but recently, my husband came home sick from work with a terrible cold and I cringed. Cold and Flu Season has officially begun and the last thing I want is a household full of sick, red-nosed children. I decided to put my fighting gloves on and attack those nasty germs before they got the upper hand.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, cleaning removes germs from surfaces – whereas disinfecting actually destroys them. Cleaning with soap and water to remove dirt and most of the germs is usually enough. But sometimes, you may want to kick it into high gear and disinfect for an extra level of protection from germs.
While surfaces may look clean, many infectious germs may be lurking around. In some instances, germs can live on surfaces for hours — and even days.
Disinfectants are specifically registered with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and contain ingredients that actually destroy bacteria and other germs. Check the product label to make sure it says “Disinfectant” and has an EPA registration number.
Disinfect those areas where there can be large numbers of dangerous germs – and where there is a possibility that these germs could spread to others.
Two rooms in the home to pay particular attention to are The Kitchen and The Bathrooms.
In the Kitchen:
- Clean and disinfect counters and surfaces before, during and after preparing food.
- Use paper towels that can be thrown away OR cloth towels that are later washed in hot water OR disposable sanitizing wipes that both clean and disinfect.
- Routinely disinfect all surfaces. Do this more often if someone in the house has a cold or the flu.
- Sterilize your baby’s bottles and nipples by dropping them in boiling water for 5 minutes.
- Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after coughing or sneezing. Wash long enough to sing the “Happy Birthday” song twice. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub. Just squirt it on your hands and rub them until they are dry.
- Wipe down doorknobs, telephones, computer keyboards and mouse with anti-bacterial wipes when someone at home is sick or when someone in the office is sick.
- Carry anti-bacterial wipes in your babybag or purse when on-the-go.
- Cover your coughs and sneezes: Always use a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Make sure you cover your mouth and nose. Then throw your tissue in the trash as soon as you use it. If you don't have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your elbow or shoulder, not your hands.
- Clean the handle, seat and tray with a bacteria killing sanitizing cloth. (Many grocery stores have these available where you get your cart)
- Use a shopping cart / seat cover which covers the entire seat and handle creating a barricade between your little one and that nasty cart / seat. Be sure and wash your cover often.
- Do not place your child’s food on an exposed tray. Cover the tray first with napkins or disposable placemats.
- Wash your hands and your child’s hands or use an antibacterial waterless hand gel when needed and especially after handling a shopping cart or public high chair.
- Use a peek-a-boo pod to keep people from touching your infant when you’re out.
- How often do they dissinfect the toys and play equipment?
- How often do the wipe-down desks?
- What is their policy on sick children at school?
- If the daycare or school is short staffed, volunteer to help once a week with this
- Special Note: Clorox.com provides ways to use Clorox Bleach to sanitize your child's toys, teethers, bottles and more to aid in killing germs. Parents, consider sharing with your child's daycare or pre-school.
- Don't go to school or around other people until you don't have a fever for 24 hours.
- You should measure your temperature after you've stopped taking medicines that reduce fevers.
- Parents should not give children younger than 4 medicines for cough/colds without talking to a doctor.
- While sick, stay away from others to keep from infecting them.
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