Guest Post: Beyond Hand Washing

This week’s guest blogger, Dr. Arlene King, chief medical officer for Ontario, gives her advice on how to keep your family healthy this winter.

Photo by SMercury98, via Flickr

We’ve all heard the same message now so many times—wash your hands with soap and water frequently to keep the germs away.  But it’s worth repeating, because viruses can live on hands for up to five minutes. Remember that hands should be washed with warm water and soap for at least 20 seconds—long enough to sing ‘Happy Birthday’ twice.

And while hand washing is one of the most important ways to make sure your child stays healthy (other than getting a flu shot), there are other things you can do to prevent your child from getting sick. Here are a few:

• Teach your child to cover their mouth and nose with a tissue when they cough or sneeze and throw the tissue out.

• If your child doesn’t have a tissue, they should cough and sneeze into their upper sleeve.

• Encourage your child to avoid touching their eyes, nose or mouth, because that’s how viruses enter the body.

• Although it’s sometimes easier said than done, a good night’s sleep and eating healthy foods are excellent ways to keep the immune system strong.

For more tips to stay healthy, visit ontario.ca/flu. Did you know that viruses can live on hard surfaces (like toys!) for up to two days? It’s important to keep common surfaces and items clean and disinfected.

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