Cold and Flu season hit my family hard during February and March. Really hard. In fact, we’ve had one illness after another this very long winter.
Days Absent Since November 26th
6 year old son – at least 7 days absent
8 year old daughter – 12 days absent
9 year old son – 9 days absent
11 year old son – 10.5 days absent
Guess what I wasn’t enforcing enough?
Hand washing is one of the best ways to prevent germs from entering your body. We can’t keep all the germs out of our body. However, we can give our immune systems a fighting chance plus reduce time spent taking sick leave or staying home from school by washing our hands.
I didn’t make regular hand washing a habit for my kids. Yes, they washed after using the bathroom and before preparing food. But, we didn’t wash after school and before dinner. Sometimes we used hand sanitizer after leaving a store. I’m sure we didn’t use anything after watching Disney on Ice at Wells Fargo in December.
When a friend told me her kids hadn’t been sick this winter and that hand washing was something she made them do all the time, I finally realized I needed to make a change.
When to wash your hands
Obviously, we wash them after using the bathroom. Here’s more opportunities for hand washing.
- After leaving a store
- After school
- Before, during, and after preparing food
- Before eating food
- Before and after caring for someone who is sick
- Before and after treating a cut or wound
- After changing diapers or cleaning up a child who has used the toilet
- After blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing
- After touching an animal or animal waste
- After handling pet food or pet treats
- After touching garbage
How to wash your hands
- Wet your hands with cold or warm water.
- Lather with soap making sure you cover the front and back of your hands and under the nails.
- Wash for at least 20 seconds (sing Happy Birthday).
- Dry your hands with a clean towel or air dryer.
- If you don’t have soap, wash your hands with water for at least 20 seconds.
The CDC recommends using an alcohol-based sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol if you don’t have access to soap and water. Personally, I use hand sanitizers only when we’re out of the house. I keep several small bottles in my car. We use them after each trip into a store.
Hand washing Tip for Families
Buy 4 to 5 hand towels for the bathroom. A few years ago, I bough 4 white ones on clearance. I chose white because everything shows up, and I can bleach it without ruining the color. When you have very contagious viruses like pink eye in your home, bleach and hot water are the only things that will kill the virus. I monitor the hand towels daily. Whenever one gets dirty, I swap it out for a fresh towel. When we’re dealing with an illness, I swap the dirty towels for clean ones daily. Thanks for 4 hand towels, I can always grab a fresh towel for the kids to use.
Share your tips for keeping your family healthy!