Say bah and oink to pig flu.
Nothing throws out a working mom’s schedule for weeks like a sick kid.
Yet a national survey of parents and guardians of kids in kindergarten to Grade 12 found 56% of them weren’t aware that washing your hands is the most effective way to keep from getting sick and spreading illness, says an article in RedOrbit.com. The survey is a bit old, but I can’t believe attitudes have changed that much since then.
Now the World Health Organization has said the pig or swine flu is a “public health emergency of international concern.”
That’s all we really need on top of a global recession.
That made me wonder how we minimize our risk, short of sending the kids to school wearing one of those funny surgical face masks that the Japanese love,
No surprise: One of the best ways is simply to get everyone washing their hands more often.
Here are nine ways to send that swine flu squealing:
1. Stop the outside world from coming home. We have had a policy since our boys were babies of washing our hands when we came in from the street. As they’ve got older, we’ve slacked off a bit. This reminded me to reinstate this policy.
2. Stop your bugs from going out. As the kids leave for school, encourage them to wash their hands … we encourage them to do it when they brush their teeth. Try and encourage here are key words. Not always successful.
3. Make an example of yourself. One in three adults, or something like that, don’t wash their hands after going to the bathroom. Women are worse than men.
4. Sing a song. Wash hands for as long as it takes to sing Happy Birthday or a song you all like.
5. Use bubbles. Makes a mess but they like it.
6. Hello soap. One problem we find is that our kids use hand sanitizer at school here in Maryland. In France, where the kids went to school for two years, they had a trough like sink with soap and towels that everyone used. Now, our boys sometimes forget that if you wash your hands at home using soap, you need to lather up, rinse off and dry to make it work.You can get advice from the Mayo Clinic on the the proper technique here.
7. Remember Dirty Bertie. That’s the name of a fun song and a cartoon you can download
from this local government site in the U.K., which has lots of handy tools and tricks to get kids washing their hands.
8. Have a competition for the cleanest hands. I sometimes make my kids pass the sniff test. I can’t see the germs but I can usually tell if I get close whether their mitts look cleaner than before. Besides, when their hands are scrutinized they often confess that they didn’t really use soap.
9. Explain why it is important. “Remember when you were sick and vomiting and had to go the doctor?” At this point, do not remind them of the benefits of staying home, which include lemonade, no school, tv and cuddles with mom.
About the Author: Julie Power is a writer and editor with experience in both the United States and Australia. After living in the United States for 16 years, she recently returned to live in Sydney with her husband and twin boys (9 years old). Follow @juliepower