Germs are everywhere -- wash your hands!
With this first real blast of cold weather hitting the bay area this week, it sure has set my mind swirling on the things that really start happening this season: flu, colds, strep. Some students at my kids’ school have been sick with strep over the last couple of weeks. The older son of a friend was sick with strep earlier this week. Now her younger son is sick at home -– with a stomach virus.
Sigh –- ‘tis the season.
Before you throw up your hands as often as you should wash them to prevent germs, consider this: A new U.S. study says you should look at lots of common items in your home that spread the germs around. Our friends over at the orlandosentinel.com mom's blog posted this story from the Associated Press that looks at spots that tend to hold germs around your house: remote controls, refrigerator door handles, doorknobs, even salt and pepper shakers.
A wise friend told me another place to look that could harbor germs: the toothpaste tube. When you are spreading it across multiple toothbrushes in your house, you probably are spreading germs as well. One of the best things I ever did to prevent my sons from getting sick at the same time was getting them separate tubes of toothpaste.
Do you have some tips and tricks that help keep your family healthy during the dreaded flu season? Please share them with us. I try to make sure that everyone keeps their hands washed or has some antibacterial hand sanitizer in their pockets when they just can’t get to soap and water.
Of course, a part of this conversation has to include getting flu shots. The shots are recommended for people older than 6 months including those who are healthy. Take a look here at who should get flu shots each year. A report earlier this year said that 30-million more children should get flu vaccinations because the age range recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics has been expanded from 6 months to up to 5 years to kids up to 18 years of age.
And a new study even says that before you take your newborn home, you should definitely get a flu shot. Researchers at Duke Children’s Hospital said that it is fairly easy to shield newborns from flu by boosting the immunization rates of parents and siblings in the home. And it doesn’t hurt for kissing grandmas to get a flu shot either.
Finally, when you take the kids to get those flu shots, beware the doctor’s office toys. A recent study has shown that toys in doctor’s waiting rooms contain lots of germs. Don’t let that stop you from getting your kids the shot but just wash their hands -– and your’s too -– when you leave. No need to spread that around your house or car too!
-- Sherry Robinson
[Photo: Associated Press]