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Infection Prevention for Back to School Time

August 23, 2012

Infection Prevention on Germs

It’s back to school time! This may mean that illness-causing germs may soon be returning to your home. Taking a proactive stance against cold, flu and other germs can help keep your home and your loved ones infection-free.

Here are some easy tips to prevent the spread of germs in your house:

Handle with Care
Handwashing is the number one defense strategy against germs. It is extremely important to teach your children to wash their hands often. Be sure they wash vigorously for at least 20 seconds … this is enough time to sing “Happy Birthday” two times. By the way, don’t forget to wash your own hands regularly as well!

Wipe Out
Disposable disinfecting wipes are a convenient ally in the war against germs. Remember to wipe down door knobs, toilet flush handles, faucet handles, countertops, handrails, refrigerator handles, tables, cellphone cases, TV remotes, and computer keyboards and mice. Always follow the instructions on the label – some products require you to let them stand wet for a few minutes while the surfaces air-dry.

Toss It or Wash It
If you have a family member who is currently sick, consider using disposable paper towels to avoid infection from germs clinging to cloth towels and surfaces. Bath towels and linens should not be re-used and should be washed regularly in hot water. Some plastic toys can be washed in the dishwasher, while many stuffed animals can be tossed in the washing machine. Don’t forget to replace toothbrushes after recovery from an illness.

Sometimes It’s Not Nice To Share
It’s best not to prepare meals if you’re the one who is sick. Also, try to discourage your family from sharing food and utensils for at least one week during acute illnesses. Be sure to wash dishes thoroughly with hot water. Frequently change your dish towels and dispose of your kitchen sponges.

Stop and Drop
So many different items travel with us when we are outside of our homes: purses, backpacks, lunchboxes, etc. Drop them at the door when you come home. You’d be surprised at the amount of germs that make their way onto your kitchen table courtesy of the bottom of your purse. Don’t forget to remove your shoes before walking throughout your house, too. If you wear sandals or flip-flops, rinse your feet before bedtime.

Be Prepared
The single best way to prevent the flu is to get the flu shot every fall. Talk to your doctor about recommended vaccines for yourself and your family.

Take a Time Out
If you’re sick, protect your co-workers or classmates by staying home. Be sure to maintain healthy eating habits and drink plenty of fluids. While your body fights to eliminate your illness, it’s also important to get plenty of rest. The energy you conserve and the fuel you provide with food and fluids will give your body what it needs to get the job done.

Antibiotics Aren’t Always the Answer
Remember that antibiotics are only effective against bacterial infections. Viruses, such as the cold and flu, are not affected by antibiotics. This means you won’t always need an antibiotic when you’re sick. Talk more about antibiotics with your doctor.

It’s always better to take an offensive position than a defensive position when it comes to the war on germs. Following these simple steps regularly will help you and your family stay healthy all year long.