Healthy hygiene habits to reduce the spread of diseases

It is impossible to protect your child from all contagious illnesses. However, you can teach healthy habits to help reduce your child's risk of infections. Teach your child:

  • To wash his or her hands. Children should wash their hands each time they use the toilet and after they blow their nose, especially if drainage has gotten on their hands. Teach your child to dry his or her hands thoroughly after washing them. Using hand sanitizers also kills germs that can cause illness.
  • Not to share hats, combs, toothbrushes, or other personal items with other children.
  • To use tissues and to cover the mouth when coughing or sneezing. Show your child how to hold the tissues so that drainage does not get on his or her hands. Tell your child to always throw tissues away in a trash can.
  • To use only clean, dry paper towels and tissues. Teach your child not to handle tissues or paper towels used by other children.
  • Not to touch other children's blood, urine, stool, or other drainage. Teach your child to tell an adult caregiver if another child is bleeding or accidentally urinates or passes a stool.

Also, occasionally check your child's hair and skin for signs of contagious diseases, such as lice. Typical signs include frequent head-scratching, rashes, redness, or insect bites.

Last Updated: February 26, 2009

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