‘Germs’ – this single word is enough to create horror, tension, worries and doubts. As causative agents of illness, flu, diseases and various discomforts, it is extremely essential to contain their spread. Giving rise to several contagious diseases, germs are the primary culprits at action. Thanks to their invisible nature and uncontrollable growth, they succeed in creating havoc much before we realize it. While germs in the form of bacteria and viruses spread without any limit, it only makes it essential to be careful and cautious as much as we can. This level of caution is necessary for adults, but it is much more significant for little kids.
Children have a fragile immune system. They are more susceptible to attack by such germs, leading to doctor visits, tears, sorrow and numerous medicines to be followed. To add to it, their innocent nature of having fun, playing with mud, being lost in the game and running away from repeated hygienic instructions only makes it difficult. Though as parents, we make numerous attempts to instil good practices into our kids, they are more likely to escape into their world of fun, every now and then. This does not replace the need to train them well.
At a young age, we should introduce them to good habits such as washing hands and legs after playing, keeping their things neat and tidy, washing hands before touching food, to name a few. But, following these good practices is not the only way to ensure a germ-free environment. As parents, it is essential to follow some steps to make our house germ-free as much as possible. Though it is impossible to eliminate every possibility of germs, it does not mean we should avoid any measures from our end.
The dangers of flu, fevers, diseases and viral outbreaks are high during cold and wet seasons. Besides, change of weather during fall, winter, and spring is also conducive for the spread of germs. Such special times demand more attention and caution. Preventing germs in our house and controlling their spread is a never-ending job. With little kids in the house, we must ensure more discipline to keep the germs away, and in turn keep the doctor and medicines at bay.
Let us look at ten steps to prevent germs in our house and make it a ‘no-germ’ zone:
- Frequent cleaning of the floor– Carpets are the most common hiding spots for germs. Frequent vacuum cleaning is essential to get rid of germs, dust and little particles. Change the filters of the vacuum cleaner by following a fixed schedule.
- Cleaning of kitchen– Kitchen is where the nutrition lies. With involvement of vegetables, meat, fruits and other perishable items, kitchen allows the growth of bacteria. Hence it is essential to wipe the kitchen floor daily. Cleaning the sink and counter top with disinfectant, wiping the stovetop, washing chopping board after each usage, cleaning and drying the kitchen wash cloths are some of the essential steps. It is also important to wipe the refrigerator and get rid of old and stale food.
Improper food storage can also lead to spreading of germs. If meat, vegetables, fruits and other such perishable items are not stored properly, they can encourage growth of fruit-flies and bacteria. Cover them properly inside the refrigerator.
Food preparation is another entry point for germs in the kitchen. Before cooking meals, we must wash all the perishable ingredients thoroughly under water. Salads, fruits, vegetables should be washed before chopping them for use.
- Clean the source– Garbage bins are the source of germs. They are nothing less than breeding grounds. Line the garbage bins with disposable trash bags to throw away all the waste. Wash garbage bins once in a week and dry it completely in the open. Segregate wet, dry and recyclable waste into separate bins. Maintain separate bins for bathroom, kitchen and living room. Encourage kids to maintain a separate dust bin for their room and to discard the trash often.
- Keep the bathroom clean and dry– Bathroom is filled with moisture that allows growth of germs. Cleaning the bathroom floor, washing toilet bowl, cleaning bathtub and sink with disinfectant, washing the shower curtains once a week are some important steps to be followed.
- Maintain personal hygienic items– Personal use towel, napkins, toothbrush, combs etc. should be maintained clean. Encourage kids to clean their toothbrush, pat it dry and store in a designated space. Towels and napkins should be washed once a week to ensure minimum growth of germs. If someone in the family is sick, these germs tend to spread fast. Hence, care must be taken to wash their items with disinfectant. Sick children at school and home can unknowingly spread such germs, this makes it essential to allow them to rest in their room, avoiding contact with other kids as much as possible.
- Encourage washing of hands and feet- ‘Washing hands thoroughly prevents germs’ is nothing less than a true fact such as the sun rises from the east. Keep disinfectant soap dispensers in the kitchen, and bathroom. Teach children the right way of washing hands and patting it dry each time. This habit is particularly important, when one comes home from outdoors. As we come across many people, objects and contents outside, it is essential to wash our hands and feet thoroughly, once we return indoors. Parents must follow this cautiously after returning from work, as workplaces and offices are hubs of germs too.
- Cleaning of bedding– Pillow cases, bedsheets, bed linen, curtains, sofa covers, and blankets can hold germs and dirt if not cleaned occasionally. Schedule a separate load in your laundry to wash these bulky and important items once a week.
- Toys and stuffed animals– Hard surface of toys should be washed with disinfectant and wiped dry. Wash stuffed animals, teddy bears and other fluffy toys in water and dry them outside under the sun.
- Keep rooms airy and well ventilated– Closed rooms allow breeding of germs. Open your windows once in a while and allow circulation of fresh air. This can be done during the day time to ensure good exposure to sunlight and wind.
- Wipe the most accessible areas– Wipe down door-knobs, door handles, faucets, staircase hand rails, remote control, cell phones, refrigerator handle as the most touched areas in the house with disinfectant wipes.
Follow such steps to ensure minimum exposure to harmful germs.
You cannot eliminate them completely but you can contain their spread to create a safe ambiance for yourself and your little bundles of joy!
About the Author
Rita Izu– is a mother and an RN working in a hospital setting. She’s passionate about nursery rhymes and writing and supporting other women in her community to have a voice in their world. Rita believes that every woman has a talent which she needs to use to make her life and the life of her family fun and more interesting. She’s s a contributing writer for www.kachytv.com/blog and innovative about the impact mothers, teachers and women and men can make in the lives of their children and family.