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    Are your child's hands clean?
    avatar
    Tanya Altmann, MD, FAAP posted:
    "Wash, wash, wash your hands, wash them every day. Wash them with water and wash them with soap to wash the germs away." My children learned to sing this song in preschool as they washed their hands.

    Hand washing is the best way to keep your child from getting sick and prevent the spread of infection. As a pediatrician, I wash my hands around 100 times a day. That may be a bit excessive, but it's the only way I can stay healthy and prevent spreading germs from patient to patient. Another tip I often share with parents who ask me how I avoid getting sick is that I don't touch my face without washing my hands first. Your mouth, eyes and nose are the usual entry point for germs. That's why young children are constantly sick. They touch everything and then bring their hands to their face to suck their fingers or rub their nose or eyes.

    As early as possible, teach your children to wash their hands often and thoroughly. Wash hands after playing, when entering the house, before eating and after using the bathroom. Kids pick up infections from their friends or classmates since many germs can survive on surfaces for hours and spread easily from person to person. Often children are contagious before they become symptomatic. So even with strict day care rules about keeping sick ones home, infections can still be transmitted.

    What's the best way to wash your child's hands? Use regular soap and water. Antibacterial soaps are not necessary. Studies show they are no better at washing away dirt and germs than regular soap, and some experts feel overuse may breed resistant bugs. Here are 5 steps for hand washing:

    1. Wet hands
    2. Apply liquid or bar soap to hands
    3. Rub both hands vigorously together to make a lather
    4. Continue scrubbing all surfaces for 20 seconds (have your young child sing a song so that the correct amount of time is spent scrubbing)
    5. Rinse hands well, then dry with a paper towel or air dryer

    What about hand sanitizers and wipes? Soap and water is best, but it isn't always available. When you're on the go, whether in the car or at the park, carry an alcohol-based hand sanitizer or wipes.

    What tricks do you use to get your kids to wash? Any sanitizing success stories to share?

    - Dr. Tanya
     
    avatar
    Lainey_WebMD_Staff responded:
    When my children were young, I posted signs up as reminders and still keep hand sanitizer in my car and purses. We also discuss why you never use your friend's comb, brush, or makeup.
    My children and grands love the mini bottles of hand sanitizers, you can go to any store and find them. Don't forget the moisturizer too.


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