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When one of your children comes home from school with a cold, it’s often only a matter of time before everyone else in the family is taken out, with the cold getting to each of you one by one. Yet it doesn’t have to go that way. Once the whole family knows how to prevent a cold from spreading, you can stop germs in their tracks – so the kids will have to find a new way of getting time off school. Here are our top cold prevention tips!
5 ways to prevent a cold from spreading
- Wash your hands
The common cold is caused by a virus that spreads easily from one person to the next. Usually you (or whoever has the cold) will be infectious until the symptoms have cleared up, which can take a week or two.
Cold germs can live for up to 24 hours on hands and surfaces, so washing your hands regularly is one of the most important ways to prevent a cold from spreading. Show kids how to wash their hands thoroughly with soap, and give them a booster step to stand on if they are too small to reach the taps by themselves.
- Cover your mouth and nose when you sneeze
Remind little ones to try to avoid sneezing or coughing over other people, and to cover their mouth or nose with a tissue instead of their hands when they sneeze. Show kids how to blow their nose properly by trapping their cold germs in a tissue, and putting it into the bin immediately.
Cushelle tissues are perfect for children to use, because they’re soft on the nose and easy to carry in pocket-sized packs.
- Clean surfaces and clothes regularly to avoid getting a cold
Even after the whole family learns how to prevent a cold from spreading with the tips above, mistakes will still happen; sneezes that’ll sneak up on you unexpectedly, tissues you’ll forget down the side of the sofa. That’s why it’s important to regularly clean the house when someone is unwell. Keep a tissue box in busy areas of the house so that fresh tissues are always to hand.
Furniture, kitchen surfaces and bathrooms are the obvious places to clean, but don't forget door handles, toys, remote controls and phones too. Use a cleaning spray with paper towels that can be thrown away, rather than a reusable cloth that may then spread its own set of germs.
- Want to prevent colds? Don't share
We know – all that time spent teaching your kids to be generous and share, and now they have to stop? But cold germs can spread easily over the surfaces in your home, so try to avoid sharing towels, plates of food or household items when someone has a cold. Consider providing a separate flannel and towel to your child if they have a cold to reduce the chance of passing on their sniffles.
Kids are never too young to learn how to avoid a cold. Remind them to use and bin their own tissues – or 'catch it, bin it, kill it' – as cold germs can be spread by picking up someone else's tissues.
- Cold prevention begins with looking after yourself
So that’s how ill kids and parents can help with cold prevention. Now let’s talk about how to avoid getting a cold if you’re well. Having a good, strong immune system could help ward off cold viruses, so support yours and your family’s by making sure you all have a healthy diet and plenty of sleep. The best defence is a good offence – and there’s nothing more offensive to the cold virus than proper self-care.