By Dr Kuldip Gurunath Paike
Germs are tiny organisms that cannot be seen by our naked eyes and only observed under a microscope. But germs are everywhere. When you use your laptop keyboard, touch a door handle, in books, pens! Coming in contact with germs is easy and avoiding them is a difficult task. Most germs don’t harm you. But certain germs enter your immune system and breach their defences. Here are certain habits which you can use in your day-to-day lives to avoid germs which can have a bad influence on your health.
Kids indulge in a lot of activities daily, right from school to the playground to home. In the process, they carry a lot of germs with them and often eat with the same dirty hands. The dirt and germs from the hands then reach the stomach, making your child ill.
In order to protect your child against these germs, you can follow these basic hygiene guidelines.
Washing hands regularly
The most basic and common way of preventing germs is by washing your hands. After using the washroom, washing hands is a no-brainer. It’s the most effective way of avoiding germs. Teach your child to wash hands several times a day and before having meals as you may not be around in school to remind them. Inculcate this habit from the very beginning. If he or she is on the go, having a hand sanitiser is essential. Make sure they wash their hands after coming from school, the playground or any kind of sports.
Cover the mouth when coughing and sneezing
This can’t be said enough. You may see people around you or at a public places who cough and sneeze without taking the effort to cover their mouths. Don’t let your kid be that person. If you see people around you not covering their mouths, politely ask them to follow the etiquette. The fastest way germs spread is when you cough and sneeze. Teach your kids to use a tissue if they have a cold or cough. If you don’t have one, then your inner elbow should suffice. In case they use hands to cover their mouths, make sure they wash hands immediately so that germs don’t go into everything that they touch.
Avoid contact with people who are unwell
It’s best if a person who is sick with flu stays indoors. But that’s not always possible. Try avoiding physical contact with them. If you find people around you who are sick at school or tuition, ask them to maintain a distance, in a polite way.
It’s okay not to share everything (sometimes)
Sharing is good for kids—except when they are not sharing the germs. In classrooms, germs breed on items that children share, such as toys, art supplies, and the class pencil sharpener. Provide your child with a personal set of supplies that are not to be shared with others. Remind your child not to share meals, snacks, or drinks with their classmates who are ill. Water fountains are another germ-prone area; if possible, send your child to school with a personal water bottle instead.
Brushing teeth before going to bed
Brushing your teeth before going to bed is the best habit one can inculcate in the kids. Kids are more vulnerable to cavities and tooth aches as it is their growing age and they eat a lot of candies and sweets. Brushing teeth before going to bed reduces the chances of developing germs in your child’s teeth.
Protect your kids from seasonal ailments
With the onset of the monsoon season, kids are more prone to fever, cold and cough. Make sure you get flu shots for your kids in order to protect them from falling sick and making their immunity strong. Kids are more vulnerable to getting germs as they are exposed to other kids at schools and playgrounds. In order to protect them, get them vaccinated with the beginning of the flu season.