Nearly everyone comes down with the common cold every once in a while, but this is actually a very preventable type of illness. Of all the healthy habits that parents can teach their kids, handwashing is one of the most effective in preventing the spread of germs that cause the common cold.
It can be difficult to get kids to wash their hands and ensure that they are doing it effectively and for long enough. So, here is some information about the importance of handwashing, especially for children, and some CDC handwashing tips and techniques to make the most of every scrub.
Young children put their hands into everything – in the dirt, onto shared toys, and into their mouths. Illness-causing germs can spread in many different ways, but dirty hands are one of the most common ways.
This is why handwashing for preschoolers is so important, especially, when children are exposed to new people and places for the first time. Handwashing is an excellent first line of defense against germs that lead not only to the common cold, but also to stomach flu, diarrhea, strep throat, bronchitis, the flu, and other contagious diseases.
Kids don’t always want to listen to their parents’ advice, even if it’s for their own good. So, it may help to make handwashing a fun experience that feel more like an activity and less like a chore.
Handwashing is most effective in reducing the spread of germs when the hands are scrubbed for at least 20 seconds in warm, soapy water. To make those 20 seconds fly by in a fun way, parents can sing a favorite song or recite a nursery rhyme with their child until it’s time to stop scrubbing. Parents can also make handwashing more enjoyable by purchasing soaps with fun colors, scents, and animated colors on the packaging. Another idea is to try soap-making as a craft activity with the child so that the soap has special meaning.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is the go-to source for information about handwashing. Here are some CDC Handwashing tips to keep in mind while teaching children.
-Wash hands before and after preparing and eating food.
-Wash hands after using the bathroom.
-Wash hands after sneezing, coughing, or blowing the nose.
-Wash hands more frequently when around someone who is sick.
-Scrub hands for at least 20 seconds each handwashing session.
-Make sure to scrub the backs of the hands, under nails, and between fingers too.
-Dry hands with a clean towel or let them air-dry.
-If there is no water and soap available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer to clean hands.
Improving handwashing for preschoolers and kids of all ages may sound like a simple endeavor, but it’s one of the healthy habits that can lead to a lifetime of wellness. For tough kids’ colds, there’s always PediaCare. But prevention through key techniques, like properly washing the hands, can mean fewer missed days of school and less time stuck on the couch instead of playing outside.
In this parental guide to cold relief, PediaCare provides resources for parents seeking answers for their child's special circumstances. Medicine made for kids, helps getting better easier!