While the holidays are a welcome break from the mundane day to day of work and school, this period also offers a moment to reflect on the health and hygiene issues faced by children at school during the term and gives us time to think about how best to resolve them.
As moms, there is nothing worse than seeing a child suffering unnecessary pain and illness, not to mention the cost and inconvenience of treatment.
Keeping kids healthy during school time is more difficult than during the holidays, but ultimately the same theory applies to both – prevention is better than cure.
THE FACT IS…
Washing hands with soap is one of the simplest and most affordable ways to help prevent the spread of germs that are responsible for causing infections.
GERMS ARE EVERYWHERE
Moms are always worried about germs, but the reality is that it’s impossible to stop kids from coming into contact with them.
We want to see our kids making the most of life at school and during the holidays – exploring their surroundings, making new friends, being active and creative – but as soon as they do this, they are exposed to germs.
The truth is, germs are everywhere and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. There are germs that can actually be of benefit to our children, by increasing their immunity or aiding in digestion.
Then there are the bad germs… the ones that cause infections and can be easily spread from one child to another. Some of the contagious germs we need to protect against can lead to infections such as:
- Fever spots
- Body odour
- Sore Throat
- Ear infection
- Heat rash
WHERE DO KIDS FIND GERMS:
- Animals and insects
- Clothes and sponges
- Other children
- Contaminated food and water
- Dirty surfaces
- Toilets and bathroom fittings
Children love to be active, especially when they are on holiday. But they are constantly being exposed to different types of germs and often get sweaty as a result of exertion. Even the germs that aren’t good or bad can cause a reaction, for example, bad odour.
CAN GERMS MAKE YOU SMELL BAD?
Sweat doesn’t actually cause body odour. Germs do. The germs feed on the sweat, which causes a chemical reaction that results in a bad smell. Moms with older kids in particular know the struggle of kids coming home smelling less than fresh after a busy day at school.
LIFEBUOY LEMON FRESH not only protects against 10 infection-causing germs, but also protects against germs that cause bad odour. It only takes 1 drop of sweat to create bad odour, but bathing with Lifebuoy Lemon Fresh washes away the bacteria that feed off sweat as well as all the other ‘bad germs’ responsible for infections and illness, so your family is kept healthier and fresher.
WE ASKED SOUTH AFRICAN MOM OF TWO, THANDO, TO SHARE HER EXPERIENCE AND ADVICE ON KEEPING HER CHILDREN HEALTHIER AT SCHOOL AND AT HOME.
“In my view, one of the biggest challenges in schools is containing the spreading of germs. When one child in class/school gets ill, it seems to travel very quickly to the others and those germs subsequently spread into our homes too. I make sure my son takes a multivitamin daily and I don’t send him to school when he is sick, so as not to make the other children sick too.
I’ve tried to reinforce to my son that he needs to wash his hands throughout the day at school to limit the spread of germs while he is there.
To stay healthy in our home, we bath daily with hygiene soap and practice good hygiene overall, washing hands after using the bathroom and before meals, which makes a huge difference. I believe in keeping nails short and clean to limit germs as well. Eating healthy all the time is still a challenge, lol.
As part of a healthy, hygienic lifestyle, I believe that routine brings structure and sets the tone of their day. We start with a good breakfast. They both love their porridge in the mornings and I love giving hugs and kisses. My son has a well-rounded packed lunch and I try to cook as many of my daughter’s meals myself, in order to maximize on the nutritional value.
Bathing or showering daily is part of the routine and I find it’s so much more than just staying clean and germ-free. I’ve come to realise that water is a healer. It lowers body tension, stimulates the immune system and relaxes our minds and muscles.
As a mom of two, my daily bath is not only for hygienic reasons, but it’s also my alone/thinking time after a day of balancing work, children and a household.”
It’s important to know when the best times are to wash hands to protect your children from germs. Here are the 5 key occasions when you should wash your hands:
- After going to the toilet
- Before breakfast, lunch and dinner
- At bath-time
It’s just as important to know how to wash hands. These are the correct ways to wash your hands:
- Wet your hands with clean, running water (preferably warm) and apply soap.
- Rub your hands together to make a lather and scrub your hands all over.
- Continue rubbing your hands for at least 20 – 30 seconds.
- Rinse your hands well under running water.
- Dry your hands on a clean, dry towel to ensure that they don’t get re-contaminated with germs.
PLEASE NOTE: It should take at least 20 seconds to wash your hands – any less and you may not have killed harmful bacteria.
MAKE HANDWASHING FUN!
Teaching kids the importance of handwashing for hygiene and getting them into the habit of washing at the 5 key occasions can be difficult.
This is why Lifebuoy adopts a fun approach to education and behaviour change in its School of 5 programme, which has reached over 11 million South Africans since 2012.
5 WAYS TO MAKE HANDWASHING AN EASY, FUN HABIT FOR THE WHOLE FAMILY
1. TRACK & REWARD
Lifebuoy School of 5 uses a handwashing diary for moms and kids to track their progress during their 21-day journey. Start your own calendar and add stickers as a reward for each time handwashing is completed.
2. SING A SONG
The correct amount of time to wash hands correctly with soap is 20 seconds. Sing the alphabet or Old MacDonald or make up your own healthy handwashing song to sing while washing to track the time and keep kids entertained.
3. HIGH 5’S
Incorporate High 5s into the handwashing routine as a fun element. Give a High 5 after each successful handwashing experience.
4. MAKE IT EASIER
Make it easier for kids to reach the basin by adding a stool or step so they can easily reach everything. Create a more fun bathroom environment by adding a fun soap dish or stickers to the mirror.
5. MAKE IT ROUTINE
Many moms find it best to build handwashing into their everyday routine, adding it to a series of regular events, such as hanging up their coat and putting away their schoolbag, so that kids eventually do it automatically.