family & parenting resources

Aaah-Chooo!

That one sneeze shot 10,000 germs per droplet through the air at about 200 mph. The common cold has been with us for tens of thousands of years and, with all our scientific advances, it’s with us still. There’s still no cure and no really effective treatment besides what your mom and her mom before her did. The only sure way to avoid the misery and the lost work and school time is to avoid getting a cold at all.

Most colds are caused by the rhinovirus, which makes its home in the mucous tissues of the nose (hence the name). It can hang out for quite a while on the skin of the hands, and transfer easily to anything those hands touch. Touch something an infected person had their hands on and you’ve picked it up; touch your nose or your eyes, and you’re likely to become infected. Oh, and the most efficient carriers of the common cold? You guessed it – kids. With their chronically runny noses, poor blowing and wiping technique and, yeah, nose picking, kids are walking crop dusters.

To curb the spread:
Use a tissue to blow and wipe; throw it out immediately. When no tissue is handy, cover your nose and mouth to sneeze or cough but not with your hands – use your arm and sneeze into your elbow.
Wash your hands. Hand sanitizers do a good job against many germs but they aren’t very effective at killing rhinovirus. Use soap and warm water and rub vigorously. Wash often.

To cut your risk:
Avoid contact with people who are infected.
Wash your hands. Again, wash often with soap and warm water.
Avoid touching your nose and eyes – if you have picked something up, you don’t want to be giving it a ride home.

Kids:
Sprinkle a little glitter on your hands and rub it around. First, try to wipe it off with a paper towel. Next, try cold water. Last, try soap and warm water. If that glitter were germs, which method would you rather use?

Did you know:
The FDA is moving to eliminate over the counter cold medicines for kids. Why? They don’t work. Period. Trials did show that the most effective remedy is…honey. Who needs a spoonful of sugar?