Be Ready to Fight Those Germs!

2 05 2011

(Thanks to our 11-year-old guest blogger, Paloma, for this timely reminder and her exciting design choices!)

When you sneeze or cough and then you touch something, you’re spreading germs all around.

For example, sneezing then climbing into the school bus, touching the hand rail and the backs and bottoms of the seats.  Everywhere your hand touches, it leaves germs behind.


When a kid sneezes or coughs and doesn’t use a tissue or wash their hands after, they spread a lot of germs around.  That’s how a lot of colds and flu and other diseases jump from kid to kid.

To prevent from getting sick or spreading your sickness around, you can wash your hands, and if you don’t have soap around, you can always carry hand sanitizer in whatever you have, like a satchel or a purse.

Kids should bring hand sanitizer to school because school is probably one of the most likely places where you can get sick because little kids are sneezing and touching things after and probably not using a tissue, but I’m sure they do sometimes.

You don’t always know where the germs are because they are little tiny germs and you can get them by just touching one thing that has someone’s germs on it.

Make sure to always wash your hands when you cough or sneeze, and if you don’t have any soap then sanitize. If you don’t have sanitizer make sure you go pick some up.

Germs hate soap and sanitizer.


Always remember to cover your cough with a tissue and when you sneeze cover it up with a tissue. And when you sneeze into a tissue or cough into one you still have to wash your hands or use hand sanitizer. Soap would be better to use if you had some around.  Always wash your hands before dinner or before you empty the dishwasher etc.


Photo credits: Creative Commons, Mountainside Medical, Discovery School

Do As I Say, Not As I Do

4 08 2010

Mo, the silent one

I just spent a few days with two colleagues from PKIDs.  We have a lot in common: we’re moms of school-age children, we work for the same nonprofit, we work from home offices, and we’re all unusually aware of how efficiently unclean hands can spread germs.

So why, I have to ask, did we keep forgetting to clean our hands before noshing?  We’d get about a third of the way through bread or something else you pick up with your hands, and one of us would stop and look guiltily at the other two.  Out came the sanitizer as we agreed that it was good the kids weren’t there to see our fall from grace.

Rachael, who is more thoughtful than I, had several ideas as to why we were not as good as usual about keeping our hands clean:

  • Like most people, one of the biggest barriers to handwashing is that we simply forget in the rush of daily life
  • We were out of our routines and routine is an important step in keeping hands clean
  • We didn’t have a plan – when out of our routine, it’s important to have a plan
  • Hey, at least we put on the hand sanitizer as soon as we remembered

On the other hand, Mo has been mysteriously silent about the question of our forgetfulness.  She may have come down with something . . .

If, like us, you’re having too good a time to stop and find soap and water, at least tuck some hand sanitizer in your bag or pocket.  Maybe you’ll remember to use it!

Wish we had.

Feeling Crowded?

21 05 2010

Aaaah, crowds. That sea of humanity one swims in at rock concerts, baseball stadiums, political rallies, the Hajj, the World Cup, and other events that draw us like kids to jam.


Courtesy Robert Molinarius

You know what else we swim in at crowded events? Germs. Lots and lots of germs. They’re in the under-cooked foods, the restrooms, the coughs and sneezes, the trails the many fingers leave behind. They’re everywhere.

This summer’s FIFA World Cup will be huge. It only comes around once every four years, so there’s a lot of pent-up excitement waiting to spill all over South Africa.

Most soccer fans around the world will scream and pound tables at home or in a pub, through their TVs, computer screens, radios, and smartphones. They’ll be exposed to germs, but the World Cup is exposure to the third magnitude.

Fans migrating toward South Africa to revel in all of that which is hockey will soon plunge into microbial soup. So, just a word about prevention please. Your loved ones want you returned in the same condition as that in which you left.

How do you do that?  How do you avoid the billions of disease-causing germs you’re sure to meet when crowded up next to 10,000, 100,000, or 1,000,000 other people?

  • If you can’t bring your own food, make sure to eat nothing that’s uncooked or under-cooked.
  • Bottled water is a must, and better to bring your own in case it’s hard to get.
  • Hand sanitizer is your friend. Use it A LOT and definitely before touching anything you will eat or drink, and don’t touch your face unless you’ve just sanitized your hands. On second thought, just don’t touch your face.
  • Check with your provider and get caught up on your immunizations.
  • Use a product to keep bugs away (some carry disease).
  • Unless you’re wearing a special mask, there’s not much you can do about the germs people sneeze and cough into the air, but you can cover your sneezes and coughs to protect others.

That’s about it, unless someone has a good tip they’d like to add.

By the way, Rift Valley fever is popping up in South Africa, so watch out for those mosquitos, and no handling of dead, uncooked animals.

Have fun!