The greatest prevention tip is found in hand washing. Wash your hands – and your child’s hands – before you eat, before breastfeeding, before preparing food, before giving medicine or treating wounds, after you go to the bathroom or change a diaper, after you prepare food, after you touch an animal, after you handle garbage, after you blow your nose, and after you sneeze or cough into your hands.
Antibacterial soap isn’t necessary when washing your hands. In fact, plain old soap and water is better, because the antibacterial variety will create antimicrobial-resistant bacteria. Alcohol-based instant hand sanitizers kill bacteria on hands, but they don’t remove dirt or dust. When choosing a hand sanitizer, use a fragrance-free variety with a concentration of sixty to ninety-five percent alcohol in the form of ethyl alcohol, ethanol, or isopropanol. If the sanitizer includes less than sixty percent alcohol, it will only spread bacteria instead of killing it. Since hand sanitizers vary in ingredients, find a brand that meets the true anti-bacterial standard of alcohol content. As a note, hand sanitizers lose their effectiveness after two minutes, and should be reapplied as necessary. 1
An ounce of prevention
Going against the grain
From the get go, Prince Charming and I established boundaries in our family. For instance, we limited visitors at the hospital and when we brought both children home as newborns. Even though everyone wanted to see us – and we really did want to show off our new babies – we wanted time to rest. Plus, it was the middle of flu season and we tried to limit the germs entering our home.
Once our children got older, we continued setting boundaries. We tried to maintain margin in our lives by cutting out our previously too busy, overscheduled way of life. We found great joy in spending relaxing nights at home together as a family.
The overprotectiveness also kicked in and altered our church routine. While we had regularly attended three hours of adult classes and service on Sunday mornings before children, suddenly all of that time seemed just too long to leave an infant or toddler in the nursery. We cut back to only attending the service, then met fellowship and learning needs later in the week. We also kept both children out of any church nursery until they were around six months old. Because they were good nappers, we took them with us to church services. Those choices definitely made us stick out from other new parent friends. But, we noticed that whenever our children did attend church nursery when they were young, about thirty-six to forty-eight hours later they got very sick with ear infections or nasty, lingering colds. (By the time they turned a year old, we were much less concerned about the exposure.)
I’m not sharing these decisions to seem ultra strange; my point is that parenting decisions won’t always be popular. But you need to make the unpopular decisions, anyway, if you and your spouse agree. Don’t feel bullied into doing something you don’t feel comfortable with just because everybody else is doing it.
1. “Hand sanitizer only last for two minutes, not effective at killing germs long-term: research.” Rosemary Black. New York Daily News. Oct. 21, 2010.
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