A delicious mud pie, a good-luck rock, or a friendly frog are the types of goodies kids love to bring home. But these adorable gifts can also bring millions of germs with them.
Kids don't always listen when you tell them to wash their hands before eating, after using the bathroom, or when they come inside from playing. But it's a message worth repeating — hand washing is by far the best way to prevent germs from spreading and to keep your kids from getting sick.
Germs can be transmitted many ways, including:
When kids come into contact with germs, they can unknowingly become infected simply by touching their eyes, nose, or mouth. And once they're infected, it's usually just a matter of time before the whole family comes down with the same illness.
Good hand washing is the first line of defense against the spread of many illnesses, from the common cold to more serious illnesses such as meningitis, bronchiolitis, influenza, hepatitis A, and most types of infectious diarrhea.
Here's how to scrub those germs away. Demonstrate this routine to your kids — or better yet, wash your hands together often so they learn how important this good habit is:
To minimize the germs passed around your family, make frequent hand washing a rule for everyone, especially:
Don't underestimate the power of hand washing! The few seconds you spend at the sink could save you trips to the doctor's office.
Reviewed by: Mary L. Gavin, MD
Date reviewed: March 2011
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