This time of year seems to bring about lots of fun, family, gatherings, and…sickness! Everywhere we turn we hear of someone who’s sick with the flu or with a stomach virus or strep. You want to “greet one another with a holy kiss” as the Bible says but honestly, you find yourself holding your breath when you talk to someone and offering your elbow instead of your hand in greeting.
You hear on TV or in the doctor’s office about the importance of using antibacterial wipes and hand sanitizers. Then you hear on the news that germs have become resistant to the antibacterial solutions so we’re actually worse off with them than without them. What’s a person to believe? Well, I suppose some sicknesses are simply unavoidable but there are precautions we can take to attempt to avoid these modern-day plagues.
How do we stay healthy this time of year? Let us not forsake the washing of the hands.
Hand-washing is by far a tried-and-true method for preventing the spread of disease. You don’t need antibacterial solutions or any magic potions. Water will wash away those little boogers if you hold your hands underneath it long enough. The warmer the water, the better.
BUT if you have a house full of kids who aren’t as germ conscious as you, you might be undoing your good intentions as soon as you touch the sink knobs, hand towels, and doorknobs. Some people don’t actually wash their hands after using the bathroom but will use the hand towel to dry their hands from—well, we just won’t go there.
It is important to encourage your family members to wash their hands after using the bathroom and after having their hands in their mouths while eating. Little ones can be taught to sing their ABCs all the way through while washing their hands. That’s a good amount of time to wash away the germs.
Teach your family members to turn the water on with their pinkies or palms. While soaping up their hands, soap up the sink knobs too. They can then gently splash some water over them and rinse their hands. When they turn off the water, the knobs are clean—or at least cleaner than they were when they started.
If you have little ones, using disposable hand towels or kitchen paper towels will work wonders too! When someone in my house is sick, which isn’t often, I make sure that he/she uses a separate hand towel.
I have caught (on more than one occasion) my kids using the kitchen hand towel to wipe their fingers off when they’ve gotten food on their fingers. Or they will lick their fingers and then wipe their hands on the hand towel. World War III just about breaks out when I catch them doing that.
Now I do use antibacterial wipes around the house on doorknobs, kitchen cabinet handles, the refrigerator and microwave handles, bathroom handles (sink, toilet, and shower). I also use them on the remote control, which we discovered was a culprit for spreading nasty germs. And I have been known to use them on my poor little Chihuahua, Posey. Truthfully! We realized that we’re all picking her up and kissing her on her head and neck and petting her. If someone in the house is contaminated and touches her or kisses her, then the next person to touch her (usually me) is going to pick up those germs.
Another sickness prevention is instructing your family members to cough or sneeze inside their shirts. Some people say to cough or sneeze into your elbow. But if you have time, open the collar of your shirt and sneeze in there. Germs can’t escape as easily.
Also make sure to replace toothbrushes or wash them on the sanitize cycle of the dishwasher. Get rid of them after you’re sick or sanitize if you want to keep sickness away. And if you have a houseful of little ones, be sure that they each know which toothbrush is theirs and how important it is not to handle their siblings’ toothbrushes. Wash off the tube of toothpaste too or give each child his/her own tube.
Now when you’re in public, there’s one bit of advice you’ll hear on the news, in commercials, and at the doctor’s office that is dead-on.
Keep your hands away from your face.
If you do not touch your eyes, nose or mouth when you are away from home, you’ve got a better chance at staying pretty healthy. And do not eat or drink after others. I know it may be tempting when you’re at family or church gathering and there’s all sorts of foods and drinks to try. But resist the germ devil!
So there’s no need for a HAZMAT suit in the winter. Just a little germ consciousness. Stay healthy!