As parents we often have a tendency to panic and when one of our kids is ill it can be a nightmare, especially when you have more than one child and an illness is repeatedly passed back and forth. Tummy bugs, also known as the stomach flu, are usually contagious and incredibly common amongst children thanks to the amount of time they spend within group settings, which are breeding grounds for bacteria and other nasties. So, how can we make our lives a little easier by avoiding the dreaded tummy bug?
Hand washing is the simplest way to stave off tummy bugs. Try getting kids into the habit early by making them wash their hands when they come into the house after playing and always before eating. Carry a hand sanitizer for those times when hand washing isn’t possible.
Do you know how clean your child’s daycare center is? Make sure they are also promoting hand washing and are using latex gloves when changing diapers to prevent germ transfer.
Keeping Fingers and Thumbs Out Of The Mouth
Just like the hand washing habit, teach your kids not to put their fingers in their mouth, and that includes thumb sucking and nail biting, especially in public places. Imagine how many germs your hands can pick up in a day, most of which comes from fecal matter… Still fancy letting them suck their fingers? No, we didn’t think so.
Areas To Use Extra Precaution
There are certain areas where extra care is necessary in order to avoid sickness bugs; public bathrooms and the doctor’s office. When kids are using public bathrooms make sure they touch as little as possible and they wash their hands when they are done – for extra protection use a hand sanitizer after they leave the bathroom. The doctor’s office is even more problematic; do you think sticker buckets and pens are disinfected after someone has touched them? When your child reaches for a sticker from the bucket just imagine how many germs have been transferred from the fingers of poorly children onto the sticker your child fishes out. After your child has visited the doctor’s office change their clothes and wash the soles of their shoes, as well as stroller wheels. If you will traveling a lot and being exposed to many public places, you may want to try prebiotics before you travel to help build immunity.
Good food hygiene in the home will also help to cut down the risk of catching stomach bugs. All kids want to help cook, especially when it comes to baking cakes, but we should ensure that they follow the same hygiene rules that we do. Before handling any food children should wash their hands thoroughly (just imagine where they have been) and spoon licking isn’t a good idea until you’ve finished preparing all foods. Even when children aren’t involved in cooking we must follow food hygiene rules to keep germs at bay, this includes being wary of cross contamination, ensuring all foods are thoroughly cooked and stored as well as cooled. When eating out at a restaurant it is still important to be aware of food hygiene rules. For example, is your food piping hot? If not, send it back!
Avoid The Germs
Children are super susceptible to tummy bugs so it’s vital that they are kept away from people who may be contagious. The germs that cause stomach flu can live on surfaces for weeks after a person appears well so wait 2 weeks before having contact with this person or visiting their house.
Stop The Spread of Tummy Bug Germs
Tummy bugs love to travel, so if someone in your house is ill, it’s highly likely that it will be passed onto another member of the family, however, you can try and avoid this. If someone in your home is sick with a stomach bug then wash your hands, wash them, and wash them again; seriously, wash those germs away! It’s best to keep the patient isolated, rather than allowing them to share communal areas of the home and clean areas with bleach and disposable paper towels, this includes door handles. If a baby is sick change diapers using latex gloves and dispose of them before putting on the baby’s clothing.
If you have any tips and tricks to share on how to avoid the dreaded tummy bug we would love to hear them!