It is a sad fact, but children are particularly good at spreading germs! This is due to their developing immune systems, dubious hygiene (particularly when they have a cold) and a lack of awareness concerning personal boundaries. They have no idea about the contagious nature of germs and are happy to generously share them with everyone they are in contact with.
However, there are ways to this risk and prevent the spread of infections at home, school and nursery. Today, Emma Hammett from First Aid for Life shares her top advice for keeping the spread of germs contained.
Hand washing is critical
Practicing good personal hygiene is vital to control the spread of disease. It’s particularly important that everyone is reminded how and when to wash their hands. Teach your child the most effective technique for hand washing and encourage them to properly wash them after using the toilet, before eating or handling food, and after touching animals. They should use soap and ensure they don’t forget to wash between their fingers and around their thumbs.
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Teach children about hygiene
Remind them and teach them about basic hygiene rules, such as not sharing food and ensuring they cover their mouth and nose when they cough or sneeze.
Catch your coughs and sneezes!
Coughs and sneezes can project germs over 3 feet, which can then survive on hard surfaces for up to an entire week. It’s important to catch coughs and sneezes in a tissue. Flush the tissue away afterwards and always wash your hands. Make sure your child carries a pack of tissues with them if they have a cold and that they know they should always cover their mouth and nose with a tissue when they cough and sneeze. If they haven’t got a tissue they should be encouraged to catch a cough or sneeze in the crook of their arm - they should not wipe their nose on their sleeve!
When changing nappies, throwing away used tissues, or coming into contact with any body fluids or cleaning chemicals, always make sure you wash your hands thoroughly. If you are looking after other people’s children and working in a professional environment, you should always wear gloves and an apron.
Clean up body fluid spillages promptly
Any spillages should be cleaned up immediately. This includes cleaning up blood, faeces, saliva, vomit, snot and eye discharges. Don’t just clean up spillages with water but use a product that combines both a detergent and a disinfectant and make sure it’s effective against bacteria and viruses.
Clean up regularly
As well as making sure to clean up spillages, it’s also important to clean your home regularly, as well as your child’s clothing. Make sure to do a thorough house clean at least once a week, paying attention to toys, surfaces and communal hotspots such as fridge hands, taps and light switches. Leading by example will also encourage your little ones to follow suit and create a more hygienic environment.
If a child’s clothing is soiled, wash it separately at the hottest wash setting that the fabric will tolerate.
Know when to keep a child off school
It’s often difficult to judge whether you should keep your child off school. The Public Health Agency has published guidance for notifiable diseases. It is important to adhere to the following advice to prevent putting other people, particularly vulnerable groups, at risk of contracting the diseases.
First Aid for Life is a multi-award-winning, fully regulated first aid training provider. Our trainers are highly experienced medical, health and emergency services professionals who will tailor the training to your needs. We specialise in first aid training for schools and nurseries nationwide.
First Aid for life provides this information for guidance and it is not in any way a substitute for medical advice. First Aid for Life is not responsible or liable for any diagnosis made, or actions taken based on this information.
It is strongly advised that you attend a fully regulated Practical or Online First Aid course to understand what to do in a medical emergency. Please visit https://firstaidforlife.org.uk or call 0208 675 4036 for more information about our courses.