The Enterovirus 68 is making headlines as it’s the culprit behind many seriously ill children in the Midwest and potentially beyond. Hospitals, including the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, report admitting record numbers of patients over the past week, many stricken with the uncommon and nasty virus. Most at-risk to be affected by Enterovirus D68 are those with a history of asthma or other weakened systems.
So, how can a busy working mom help to prevent your children from becoming ill?
According to Dr. Derek Wheeler, associate chief of staff at the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center in a recent article on Cincinnati.com, parents can prevent their children from getting the virus by making them wash their hands frequently and drink plenty of fluids.
“Simple and natural daily cleaning routines can also help stop the spread of seasonal viruses at school from lingering in the home,” says Marie Stegner, consumer health advocate for Maid Brigade, a leading maid service company. “Preventative action and common sense can make the difference in keeping a healthy home. ”
Stegner adds that two of the big culprits in spreading germs are backpacks and lunchboxes.
“Think about it. Your child’s backpack and lunch box are in all the wrong places during the course of the school day,” Stegner says. “Then they run in the house and toss them on the counter right where you will later prepare dinner or serve snacks. Yuck!”
To help combat nasty fall flu germs, here are three tips that could save your family a trip to the doctor and time out of work or school.
Designate a place for backpacks
Encourage your kids to put backpacks by the door when they come home from school to help keep school germs from traveling throughout the house. Remove schoolbooks and other frequently used to clean daily. Wash backpacks once per week. Clean the outside and the inside of lunchboxes daily before putting them away or repacking. Use sealed containers that can be put in the dishwasher for lunches and snacks.
Teach frequent hand washing
According to Philip Tierno, PhD, author of The Secret Life of Germs, people who wash hands seven times a day have about 40 percent fewer colds than the average person. Teach kids proper hand washing including getting between fingers. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that it’s important to lather up and scrub for about 20 seconds or as long as it takes to hum the “Happy Birthday” song twice from beginning to end. We all know that tune!
Leave shoes at the door
Footwear is ripe with all kinds of germs and dirt from the outside world. Best to leave shoes by the door so small children who may still be crawling, and even pets, don’t get the worst of what the streets have to offer right in their own home.
What is Stegner’s favorite germ-combating homemade cleaning recipe?
Natural All Purpose Cleaning Spray
- 1 tablespoon borax
- 1 tablespoon washing soda (sodium carbonate)
- 1 teaspoon liquid dishwashing soap
- 1 cup vinegar
- 4 cups hot water
- 25-30 drops essential oil (optional)
Whisk all ingredients together well in a large bowl, then pour into spray bottle. Spray on surface and let sit for at least 2-3 minutes before wiping the surface with a damp cloth.
For more green cleaning and healthy lifestyle tips, check out the Maid Brigade Go To Green Cleaning Guide.