The holiday season is upon us once again! Unfortunately, that means that cold and flu season has also arrived, so here are a few ways to reduce the risk of germ transmission during the holidays.
Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth as much as possible. Clean and disinfect surfaces that may be contaminated. Cover your nose and mouth when sneezing, coughing or blowing your nose. As always, stay home if you are sick to avoid infecting others.
One of the most effective ways to prevent the spread of germs is by washing your hands before eating or before touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Be sure that you wash your hands with soap and water, scrubbing your hands for at least 20 seconds. To help children learn how long to scrub, sing the “Happy Birthday” song from beginning to end twice. If no soap or water is available to you, use an alcohol-based hand gel or disposable wipes.
In addition to washing your hands, there are also several oral health precautions you can take to prevent germ transmission. Never share a toothbrush–not even with a family member, as toothbrushes can carry germs even after rinsing with water. It’s important to invest in a new toothbrush every three months and after every illness to avoid lingering bacteria. Never share food, utensils or beverage containers with others. It is also crucial to avoid the spread of harmful bacteria to infants by washing pacifiers in warm soapy water. Never clean a pacifier or bottle nipple by placing it in your own mouth.
Remember to take these precautions year-round, and talk with your children about proper hygiene habits during National Handwashing Awareness Week (December 3 – 9). By practicing these healthy hygiene habits, you can prevent the spread of germs and ensure that you and your family stay healthy throughout the holiday season!