Home Hygiene Tips for Parents
It is very easy to become complacent about home hygiene. After all, we live in modern homes with sanitary plumbing and therefore the risk of infection from dangerous diseases such as cholera is low. The trouble is, even though many dangerous diseases are kept under control, the overuse of antibiotics is a cause for concern and the more you can do to prevent you and your family from succumbing to dangerous infections, the better.
Why is Hygiene So Important?
Hygiene is very important, particularly when you have toddlers and newborn babies at home. You don't have to become obsessive about bleaching every available surface, but it is important that you practice good hygiene - and encourage your children to do the same.
Young children and babies are more susceptible to infections and illnesses. Their immune systems have not yet built up much resistance to the myriad of bugs we adults meet every single day, so a minor tummy bug in an adult could develop into a serious case of gastro-intestinal upset in a baby. It is unreasonable to expect your child to never be ill, but by keeping your home hygienic and clean, you can at least reduce the possibility of them getting sick.
Invest in a Steam Cleaner
Steam cleaners are a quick and easy way to kill off harmful bacteria living on hard and soft surfaces. You can use a steam cleaner on hard floors, kitchen worktops, windows, and hobs. They are also great for cleaning bathrooms, where grime and mould soon make their presence felt after a few months of very little cleaning. There are lots of steam cleaners and steam mops to choose from in the stores, but for best results, look at well-known brands such as karcher.co.uk.
Bleach is Your Best Friend
The supermarket shelves are full of brightly coloured cleaning sprays, but if you want an all-purpose cleaner guaranteed to kill every germ imaginable, all you need is a cheap bottle of bleach. Household bleach costs very little, but cleans exceptionally well. Undiluted bleach can be used on toilets and other germ infested areas, but if diluted, it is great for disinfecting high-chairs, kitchen surfaces, and play equipment. Fill a spray bottle with diluted bleach solution and you can clean anything, but do remember to rinse surfaces after applying bleach.
Liquid Soap for Bathrooms
It's a really good idea to get rid of traditional soap bars and replace them with liquid soap when you have kids. Children don't always wash their hands when they use the toilet, so to encourage them to be more hygienic, make it as easy as possible. They are more likely to wash their hands if they can use a soap dispenser, but just in case they are apt to forget, put a big sign on the bathroom door until hand washing becomes second nature.
Hand Sanitiser Dispensers
One of the easiest ways to prevent spreading germs after handling money or even shaking hands is to use hand sanitisers. These are easily found in most pharmacies and grocery stores and are really quite inexpensive. Of course we have always been told to wash our hands after handling money because countless other people have handled it, but is this realistic?
The best solution is to scatter hand sanitisers throughout the home so that you can quickly rid your hands of germs before picking up your baby.
Are Guest Towels Really Necessary?
One of the easiest ways to spread germs is through hand towels. Yes, guest towels in the bathroom are quite lovely, but can you change them every time someone washes and dries their hands? Do you really want your children exposed to germs guests have brought in? Some parents restrict usage of the guest bathroom to guests so that children can't mess them up.
However, this is a good idea when it comes to preventing young ones from unnecessary exposure to germs brought in. Many modern families have turned to installing a paper towel dispenser in their guest bathrooms as well as in the kitchen. If style is an issue, there are some very nice designs on the market.
There is a school of thought that says some exposure to germs is good for us for building up an immune system, but at the very least we should make sure the kitchen and bathroom are hygienic and clean. Teach your children from a very young age the importance of washing their hands regularly and why it is so important never to put food in their mouths once they have dropped it on the floor. It is true that we build immunity through exposure, but simple common sense habits will go a long way in preventing the unnecessary spread of germs.NOTE: The health section of Parenting.co.uk is not to be used as a substitute for your GP; if your child is ill then seek the advice of a qualified doctor or other health professional without delay.