Hygiene Alert: 6 Germ Hotspots around your kid

We get so worried when our kids fall sick. We do our best to keep them well nourished, follow healthy habits, avoid street food and places with chances of infection, so what could be the cause for those sporadic breakdowns?

While we clean our house and surroundings religiously at regular intervals, let’s check out some of the common germ hotspots that we tend to overlook.

1. The Tiny Hands

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Washing hands after playing, after using the toilet and before eating,significantly reduces stomach infections and respiratory disorders. Devise a song or a counting game that your kid can play while scrubbing away, as it is important to scrub for at least 10-15 seconds.

Refrain from using public restroom dispensers, alas, soap in these dispensers can be quite contaminated with bacteria.Several dirty hands touching the dispenser and the container being rarely cleaned makes a good ground for growing bacteria.

Smart way out:Always keep a hand sanitizer handy while out, it is as effective as a good hand wash!

2. Kiddie Toothbrushes

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As strict as you might be about your kid’s brushing routine so he follows good oral hygiene, his toothbrush can be a breeding ground for fungus and bacteria. Storing kids tooth brushes alongside adult toothbrushes can add to the risk, as adult toothbrushes have the additional possibility of harbouring germs from a certain cavity, or residual plaque.

Smart way out:

  • Wash the toothbrush thoroughly under tap water before every use
  • It is great to use a case for the bristles, but do so only after airing them out well
  • Store kids’ toothbrushes separately from those of adults
  • Change the toothbrush often. It is essential to change kids’ toothbrushes more often than adults’ as the wear and tear is higher with kids
  • It is important to change toothbrushes after a child catches a cold, flu or any kind of infection, as germs tend to hide in the bristles

3. Restaurant Ketchup Bottles

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How our kids love eating French fires and burgers with sauce and ketchup while eating out.  Sadly, having that ketchup at most restaurants is not such a healthy option. The containers are seldom cleaned and mostly refilled while there is still some old sauce remaining.

Smart way out: Ask for sachets. Many restaurants stock these. It is not a bad idea to carry some ketchup sachets with you when you plan to eat out.

4. Lunch-boxes and Water Bottles

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You might painstakingly fill your kid’s lunchbox with a variety of options, but how clean is the lunch box itself? Often, when we pack food at slightly warmer temperatures, bacteria can breed and multiply quickly. Water bottle can be equally prone to germ build up as soiled hands and food stained mouth come in contact with it.

Smart way out:

  1. Do not pack food, while it is still hot, bring it down to room temperature before you pack. (Unless you are using a casserole kind of lunch box)
  2. It is a good idea to use aluminium foil and cling wrap to cover food items, so they don’t come in direct contact with the lunchbox container
  3. Always use food grade plastic for both lunch boxes and water bottles. Tupperware for example is the most popular choice of food grade plastics, with a variety of options for kiddie lunch boxes. There are also several options in steel like Cello and Milton. Steel is much easier to clean and maintain hygiene.
  4. Encourage kids not to share ‘mouth to mouth’ with friends, especially when it comes to water bottles

5. Socks and Shoes

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When kids wear shoes with socks and spend all day at school, there is a good chance that their feet will sweat and give rise to plenty of bacteria, as moist clothing is a great way for bacteria to reproduce.

Smart way out:

  • Wash your kid’s pair of socks after every single use
  • Dry your little one’s feet well before putting on socks and shoes
  • Always use cotton socks
  • A nice wash with good old soap and water is recommended after removing shoes and socks

6. Playrooms

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Outdoor toys like bats and balls can often get quite dirty and when stored along with other toys, can pass on the germs. Even indoor toys can often retain germs when a sick child plays with them.

Smart way out:

  • It is a good practice to clean indoor toys like blocks, pots and pans, and other toy sets with Dettol and water regularly
  • Wash soft toys regularly as they catch a lot of dust
  • Store outdoor toys separately
  • Wash and store sand toys after every use, as they can contain harmful e.coli bacteria.

While we take enough care and precautions to maintain good hygiene for our children, it is important to relax and not get paranoid and obsessive about it. Germs are everywhere, we can’t and shouldn’t try to keep our kids completely germ free. Infact, pediatricians suggest that some kind of germs are actually good for the children in building their immune system. So do your bit, then sit back and relax!

Images Source: Google Creative Commons

Featured Image source: Dollarphotoclub.com

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