how to stop spreading colds

We recently took Little Dude to the doctor for a check-up. Each time we go, we get a packet of what to expect in his development the next month. They also include important tips, like how to stop spreading colds. I’m sure it’s a popular question they get this time of year.

Here’s what the 10 tips were and my thoughts on each:

1. Learn the ABCs of hand washing: washing hands literally rinses germs away. Be sure to use plenty of soap & water. To make sure your kids spend enough time with their hands under the faucet, have them wash for as long as it takes to sing the ABCs

I think this is a great idea for adults, too. For little kids that don’t know their alphabet, you could play the ABCs song as they wash their hands (to help them learn it, while they wash for 30 seconds). 🙂

2. Don’t share drinking cups: sharing drinking glasses and cups is another way to spread germs. Have Dixie paper cups on hand. Use them once and throw them away. Use a dispenser in the bathroom and kitchen so it becomes habit.

So we try to be as green as possible and use plastic cups. But we wash them weekly. I’m guessing that isn’t often enough and will start to wash them more often. I would definitely buy Dixie cups for our kids if they are sick, but would just use it as a temporary fix.

3. Blow & throw: make sure to use a paper tissue, throw it away and wash your hands immediately after use.

We bring the trash can over to where we are sitting and throw tissues away right after using them. And once Little Dude was born, we starting keeping antibacterial gel throughout the house (for when we are too lazy or tied-up to go to a sink and wash).

4. Keep hands off: Colds are passed when germs are transferred from one infected person to another. So keep hands off your eyes, nose and mouth.

I’m terrible at this! I’m always sweeping my bangs back or putting a piece of gum in my mouth – I should be more aware of this. I do pull Little Dude’s hands away from his mouth ALL the time.

5. Toss your towels: In the kitchen, use disposable paper instead of cloth towels. Bacteria and viruses can live on cloth towels for hours.

We have paper towels in the kitchen and use them along with tea towels. Once we use the tea towel, it goes in the wash.

6. Play it clean: toys are common germ carriers. Wash toys in warm, soapy water to kill bacteria and viruses. Try to wash toys once a week, and get your kids involved in the cleanup.

Little Dude doesn’t play with toys yet, but I can see this being a fun project: dump the toys in the bathtub and give them a bath! 🙂

7. Sneeze this way, please: Grab a tissue. But if you can’t, be sure to wash your hands after covering your mouth with a sneeze. And teach your kids to sneeze away from others.

Chris and I watched a Mythbusters about this… the BEST way to sneeze is the “Dracula cough” where you sneeze into your arm.

8. Open up and say “ah:” Germs may remain in stagnant air; so open the windows when the weather permits. And try to keep the air in your home moist to avoid nose irritation that may increase the risk of colds. Turn on a humidifier, or set a pot of water near the heater or radiator. Be sure to clean your humidifier frequently.

I love opening up the windows when it’s nice outside. During the winter, I’m going to be more intentional about getting out the humidifier.

9. Wipe up germs: germs can rest on high-touch surface like doorknobs, handrails, light switches and counter tops for up to three hours. Wipe them down with a disinfectant as often as possible.

I end up doing this about once a month – but with our lifestyle (dogs, baby, clients coming over), I should do it at least a couple times a week.

10. Smoke-free zone: Smoke can irritate your nose and lungs and dramatically increase children’s susceptibility to colds; make your home a smoke-free zone.

We don’t smoke and I even ask smokers to not come over smelling smoky.

Please leave a comment below & share with your friends. All comments await my moderation.

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Tangi - November 30, 2010 - 10:25 am

Singing “Twinkle, Twinkle” works, too! I love hearing singing coming from the bathroom!

karen - November 30, 2010 - 11:34 am

those are all good tips! This time of year I get very nervous about catching some kind of awful cold/virus.

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