With flu and cold season practically knocking on our doors and the relentless Entero D68 virus in the news, I am not surprised when friends reach out to me for advice on how to live in a “germ-free bubble.” Once a germaphobic mom – always a germaphobic mom! I know our “bubble-like” life style isn’t for everyone. But for some families with “germ sensitive” children there is no such thing as “just a virus.” Even the rhino-virus (aka the common cold) can send certain children to the hospital with severe complications. So as we head into the season of giving and sharing – please be mindful of your friends and family who might not love the idea of germ-sharing.
The ten best ways to keep your family healthy this season – from a family with four (nose-picking, snot-sharing, butt-scratching and dirt-digging) boys!
- Wipes in school lunch box. I know, I know – the kids probably don’t use them, but there is always HOPE!
- Hand sanitizer in the car. Everyone should use hand sanitizer when you get in the car from being at school, the store – wherever! (Remember – I am a germaphobe – so I can SEE germs!)
- No shoes inside the house! This rule may be hard for some of your visitors to “remember”, so you may find that you sound like a broken record – but oh well, isn’t that what moms do anyway?!
- After school have the kids bathe and put on clean clothes! This is the number ONE rule for the two big boys in our house! Have the kids strip down as soon as they get home, give them a shower and have them put on clean clothes. The school uniforms should be washed separately. This not only prevents the spread of school germs, but it also makes bed time that much easier! WIN WIN!
- Wash hands upon entering the house. Like the “no shoes” rule, this one applies to everyone as well. For the people (relatives) who can’t seem to remember this one, have a bottle of hand sanitizer on the counter – as a gentle reminder.
- Avoid/ limit indoor play areas. For families with immune compromised children this one is a biggie. Personally I break out in hives when I see plastic ball pits. (The thought of them right now has me feeling all itchy!)
- Careful with play dates and birthday parties. There is nothing worse than taking your child to a play date or birthday party, only to enter a room full of coughing kids. Ask your friends to let you know in advance if their kids are sick or recovering from anything contagious. It is then up to you, on a case by case basis, to decide if you should take a rain check.
- Avoid indoor public gatherings. During the fall and winter months, try to avoid large indoor congregations, especially if there are many children present. Schedule pictures with Santa for the early hours, go to the mall early before the crowds start, go to the least crowded showings at the movie theatre… you get the picture.
- Avoid getting pool water in the eyes, nose or mouth. While pools are chlorinated and cleaned, there are still many bacteria that can be spread when the water enters our bodies – don’t think too much about this one, it’s so gross. This was a tip from a doctor – not just a result of my neurotic germaphobic adventures.
- Avoid shopping carts, public high chairs and changing tables. Of course there are times where we have to use these items, but if at all possible – be prepared with covers, sanitizing wipes and caution!
As you can see, living in a bubble does not mean missing out on life or festivities. It simply means taking precautions that others might not have thought of, and sticking to your convictions.
May all your giving and sharing this holiday season be of the beautiful things in life – and not of snot and germs!
Parents with infants – check out our review of “Mama Bear Stroller Signs”. They are the BEST gadget on the market to keep strangers’ germs far away from defenseless little ones!
How do you protect your family from getting sick during the colder months of the year?