Teaching kids good hygiene habits during cold and flu season

January 14, 2013 12:00:00 AM PST
Learning the most effective way to protect from germs is a life lesson we all should get when we're in preschool.

Preschoolers at Ranchito Elementary are getting a first-class education on how to stop germs. The area medical director at Kaiser Permanente Panorama City is using glitter and moisturizer to prove a point.

"Glitter is similar to a viral infection because it sticks to your hands and it's hard to get rid of," said Dr. Mary Wilson.

If you've ever played with glitter, you know it's hard to get off, just like flu and cold germs. Those germs can live on the skin for up to six to eight hours.

Within seconds a child will touch their eyes, mouth or nose, get infected and then infect you.

"That's the cycle you want to break. So you would do that by washing your hands before you eat, and washing your hands after you use the bathroom, and after you touch your face," said Dr. Wilson.

That's why Dr. Wilson is showing kids how to soap their hands thoroughly and keep them under the running water for at least 25 to 30 seconds.

"Twice through is better for 'Happy Birthday.' So it's a long time, longer than you'd think," said Dr. Wilson. She recommends kids wash their hands for the length of time it takes to sing the "Happy Birthday" song.

If you can't wash, use hand sanitizers generously and don't touch anything until your hands are thoroughly dry. Sneezing and coughing is best into a tissue. If you don't have one, cough into your elbow.

But parents should remember: kids will need constant reminding.

Experts say that whether it's soap or hand sanitizer, just make sure you get a good hand-washing.


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