Keep Germs at Bay for the Holidays
It’s that time of the year again and many of us are burning the candle at both ends, trying to check off all the items on our long ‘to-do’ list before for the holidays.
We may be doing too much and feeling a little run down already. But what could be worse than not getting it all done in time? With just two weeks left before the big guy in red makes his appearance – many of us worry about illnesses taking over our households in time for Christmas.
Here are some steps to take to prevent the spread of germs:
– Remind your families about your policies on illness and explain that you are taking extra precautions as the holidays approach. No one wants to be sick over Christmas break, so parents should be understanding when you ask them to think twice before sending a sick child to daycare. A good rule of thumb is to keep a child home for 24 hours after they have been free of symptoms of vomiting or diarrhea. In the case of respiratory illness, it is usually safe for a child to return to daycare once they are free of fever and feeling better.
– Of course, frequent hand washing is even more important at this time of year; particularly after playgroups and before meals or snacks.
– Make fresh play dough – daily if possible. Toss out old playdough that may contain germs or viruses.
– Disinfect toys by wiping off organic matter and then soaking them in a bleach solution ( 1 tsp bleach to every 10 cups of water) for 10 minutes. Then rinse with water and let air dry. If using a spray bottle, spray a clean cloth or paper towel and wipe the object with it. Hard plastic toys can be cleaned in the dishwasher with a rinse cycle of 82’C for at least 10 seconds. But cleaning is not just for toys – don’t forget those storage bins and craft supplies too!
– Disinfect surfaces that are touched frequently such as doorknobs, phones, keyboards, etc.
– Wash plush toys (and hand puppets if possible) in hot water with laundry detergent. Limit their use when a child is sick in your home.
– Ensure that each child has their own bedding and that it is not shared.
– Encourage hugs instead of kisses.
– Cough into your sleeve (or a tissue), not your hand. Encourage your children to do the same. Don’t share utensils or drinking glasses.
– Consider getting the flu shot. Childcare providers caring for children under 5 years have now been added to the list of recommended recipients.
CCPRN is hosting a new Outbreak Management Workshop for Caregivers at the office on Monday, January 14th at 6:45pm. Register on our website: http://www.ccprn.com or if you are not a CCPRN member and would like to attend, please call Doreen at 613-749-5211, ext. 23.
If you would like more information on best practices for disinfecting your home in the meantime, check out the Ottawa Public Health website here – because who wants to be home –sick– for the holidays?!