Can you believe that the first school term of 2017 is almost over?!! While the holidays are a splendid break from the mundane day to day of work and school – whoooohooo to three weeks of no-homework – this is also a good time for us to reflect on the health and hygiene issues faced by our children at school during the term and 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
Yes, we stress about germs, but the reality is that it’s impossible to stop kids from coming into contact with them. I’ve found that one of my biggest challenges is containing the spreading of germs from school. When one child in class gets ill, it seems to travel very quickly to the others and those germs subsequently spread into our homes too. Lesedi and Khumo are doing a stellar job at germ-sharing at the moment – a story for another day!
It took a very scary hospital stay in 2011, to push me into ensuring that my little-man takes a multivitamin daily and I never send him to school when he is sick, so as not to make the other children sick too.
There are some 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, dysentery, diarrhea, fever spots, body odour, flu, sore throat, cough, ear infection and heat rash.
WHERE DO KIDS FIND GERMS:
- Animals and insects – someone please tell my daughter to stop trying to kiss our dogs 🙂
- Clothes and sponges
- Other children
- Contaminated food and water
- Dirty surfaces
- Toilets and bathroom fittings
CAN GERMS MAKE YOU SMELL BAD?
My little-man just started using an antiperspirant… yes we’re at the stage already and no I’m not ready to talk about it yet – but educating myself on sweat has made me feel better. I’ve learnt that 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. I must admit that as a mom of two, my daily evening bath is not limited to the hygienic benefits, but it’s also to sneak in 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
- Before lunch
- Before dinner
- At bath-time
It’s just as important to know how to wash hands. Here’s a cute demonstration:
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
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.
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.
HIGH 5’S: Incorporate High 5s into the handwashing routine as a fun element. Give a High 5 after each successful handwashing experience.
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.
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.
You can read my neo-natal care tips here.
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Modern Zulu Mom