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The Dirty Truth About Germs and 5 Easy Ways to Prevent Them

This post is sponsored by iHerb.  This means we were asked to review or try something new, and then remunerated to share those thoughts.  Since you are reading this post, it ALSO means that we enjoyed the experience. Friends don’t let friends make false recommendations! 

By a quick show of hands, how many times today have you been…

  • Sneezed on?
  • Coughed on?
  • Used as a human tissue? (Don’t worry, the crust blends in with your brown sweater.)

As a mom, it’s just as impossible to avoid germs as it is to get five minutes alone in the bathroom, amiright?

Although, come to think of it, that’s probably one of the more germ-filled spots to retreat to. (Which comes first? The desperate quiet time and then sickness? Or the sickness and then the quiet time?)

I mean, have you ever really stopped to think about how many germs are moving through your house everyday?

It’s time to clean up a few misconceptions. (Get it? CLEAN UP??)

The Dirty Truth About Germs

I think we can probably all agree that kids are champions when it comes to germ spreading. Curious minds have curious hands, and if they’re not touching something, then they’re probably chewing it.

Add some sneezing or coughing to that mix, and you’ve got germs farther than the eye can see.

No, seriously.

It used to be thought that germs only traveled as far as you could see the spray of a sneeze or a cough, but studies have shown that bacteria and viruses can actually spread much farther on gas clouds.

They can even be sucked into ceiling air vents which allows them to spread to other rooms.

And if that’s not gross enough, germs are also all over our kids’ hands. So, it’s likely they’re all over your doorknobs, tables, toys, and kitchen counters too.

Don’t worry, though, I do have some good news for you.

While we can’t eliminate germs altogether, there are some super easy preventative steps you can take to limit their spread and longevity.

I know the suspense is killing you, so let’s talk about them, shall we?

Germ Prevention Step #1:
Wash. Hands. Often.

Handwashing is arguably your most important line of defense when it comes to germ prevention because hands are primary carriers of infections.

Studies show that hand washing alone can prevent 1 in 3 diarrhea-related illnesses and 1 in 5 respiratory infections, such as a cold or the flu.

I’ll take those odds.

Think about all the things your daughter touches on a daily basis. Now think about how many times those little hands touch her face or mouth or your face or mouth.

Do you need to take a second to help her wash her hands right now? I can wait.

Just make sure your teach her how to do it correctly.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there is a right way to wash hands:

  1. Wet your hands with water and apply soap.
  2. Lather up your hands by rubbing them together.
  3. Scrub all surfaces of your hands (keep in mind that most of the germs congregate underneath fingernails). Keep scrubbing for at least 20 seconds; enough time to sing “Happy Birthday” twice through.
  4. Rinse hands under clean water.
  5. Dry hands completely with a clean towel or air dryer.

Hand washing is one of the most important things you can do to keep illness-causing germs at bay.

Don’t skip this step. Don’t let your kids skip this step.

They’ll all thank you eventually.

Germ Prevention Step #2:
Cover Mouth

Remember earlier how I said that germs can travel through air vents?

I’m still a little horrified by this finding.

I am, however, certain than we can, at least, help contain the spray of a cough or a sneeze by teaching our kids to correctly cover their mouths.

The first rule is easy: Don’t cough or sneeze directly into your hand. Instead…

  1. Use a tissue or something that can be thrown away.
  2. Cough or sneeze into the crook of your elbow.

And then? You guessed it. Wash those hands.

Germ Prevention Step #3:
Don’t Share

This step becomes more important the more kids you have in your home because the more kids you have in your home, the more cups, utensils, pacifiers, snacks, and toys you have in your home.

Simply put: Teach kids not to share these things. If it’s been in someone else’s mouth, it needs to be washed before it can go in anyone else’s.

Germ Prevention Step #4:
Clean and Disinfect

We can’t, of course, keep kids from putting things in their mouths or touching the kitchen counters.

Be can, though, wash the things they’re attempting to eat and disinfect the surfaces they’re sneezing all over.

Get a kid-friendly disinfectant spray and clean daily. Focus on:

  • Toys you’ve seen in mouths
  • Kitchen surfaces
  • Bathroom surfaces
  • Doorknobs

Additionally, don’t forget to throw all your sippy cups in the dishwasher each day, and wash those pacifiers with some hot, soapy water.

Germ Prevention Step #5:
Strengthen Defenses from the Inside Out

Okay, teaching your son these germ prevention strategies is one thing.  Expecting him to cover his mouth with his elbow the first time he sneezes every. single. time. is another whole thing altogether.

And the baby with a cold? Well, I’m sorry to say that she’s going to go ahead and keep coughing straight into your face.

They’re so sweet, aren’t they?

Luckily, you have one last trick up your sleeves: Preventative supplements. Time to take the fight inside. By bolstering your family’s immune system, you can not only shorten “sick time,” you can prevent it altogether.

And iHerb is exactly the right place to arm the body’s fortress.

They recently sent me over a box filled with some germ prevention goodness. Here’s what they equipped me with:

My family is better prepared for cold and flu season thanks to these products. Let me tell you a little about why I like each one…

Protecting Your Man: Men’s Energizer Multi-Vitamin

If your husband is anything like mine, he probably doesn’t wake up first thing in the morning and think, “Oh! I can’t wait to take my daily vitamin today!” But if the bottle is sitting right next to the coffee maker giving him a visual reminder? Well, then, vitamins it is!

I particularly love this multi-vitamin because, in addition to supporting systems like digestion, immunity, and heart, it contains a daily greens blend and a daily veggies blend. (Food groups most men struggle to get enough of!)

Protecting Yourself: Women’s Energy Multi-Vitamin

Your vitamin contains a fruit and veggie blend too, mama, which is especially handy for those days when the only lunch you have time for is that handful of pretzels. This helpful supplement is optimized for women and is specifically balanced to support:

  • Energy
  • Heart Health
  • Bones
  • Immunity
  • Eyes
  • Hair, Skin, and Nails

All good things!

Protecting Your Kids: Children’s Multi-Vitamin Gummies

These gummy vitamins are a big hit with the resident preschoolers in my house. They love the yummy fruit flavors (naturally sweetened, of course, with tapioca and dried cane syrup).

I love that that they’re starting their day with things like Vitamin C and folic acid.

It’s a win-win.

Protecting Everyone’s Immunity: Echinacea Goldenseal

Echinacea, as far as I can tell, has magical healing powers of prevention (my mom whips her bottle out at the first sign of a sneeze).

But, since science is our friend when it comes to health, it’s more valuable to note that Echinacea contains active substances that work to enhance the immune system. Plus, in addition to providing antiviral effects, it can relieve pain and reduce inflammation.

Goldenseal eases mucous membranes which makes it a good choice for things like sore throats or eye infections.

Together, they are a powerful combination of prevention, and the dropper this comes with makes it even easier to take (and give to squirmy kids).

Protecting Everyone’s Energy: MCT Coconut Oil

Coconut oil is another health-boosting elixir that benefits everything from your cooking to hair care. I mean, that’s something magical.

You might not know that coconut oil can be taken as a supplement as well. One tablespoon a day can help provide energy and fight bacteria and viruses.

Protecting Everyone’s Gut: Superior Probiotic

According to a study by Harvard Medical School (they’re a reputable source, right?), probiotics help maintain the digestive system and boost the immune system.

Simply put, they help restore balance when your system is, well, off.

Probiotics are found naturally in yogurt and a few other food source, but you can also take a supplement like this Nature’s Way product. It’s once daily and easily mixed with things like yogurt or applesauce to help get you back on track.

Just make sure you talk to your doctor before using it.

Protecting Everyone’s Bones: Calcium Bone Formula

Most people know that calcium is important to build healthy bones, but did you also know that calcium benefits your heart, muscles, and nerves as well? Since we’re working on staying healthy this season, we might as well run the whole gamut, don’t you think?

This particular calcium supplement is fast dissolving, so your body can get the maximum level of nutrients. It’s also easier for your body to digest than most supplements. Again though, be sure to talk to your doctor before taking it.

iHerb is Your Anti-Sickness Secret Weapon

iHerb is a one-stop online retailer for all your natural product needs. They have over 1,200 brands and 35,000 products, and their prices are typically 30-40% cheaper. And if that’s not enough…

  • They contain over 400 Nature’s Way products that can be shipped to over 160 countries.
  • Their Customer Service team provides support in 10 different languages.
  • Every iHerb order is eligible to receive discounted or, even better, free shipping.
  • They offer 24 hour/7 day customer service.

I found the website particularly easy to navigate and was pleasantly surprised by how quickly my order arrived.

Now, here’s the real seller: New iHerb customers can get $5 off your next Nature’s Way Order of $20 or more by clicking here.

Germ Prevention Can Lead to a Clean Bill of Health

You can’t change the dirty facts about germs, but you can change the way you prepare for them in your home, especially NOW before the cold and flu season hits.

Of course you should start with foundational principles like hand washing, cleaning, and disinfecting.

But in addition to those important pieces, one of the best things you can do for your kids is to help build up their natural immunity with these  vitamins and supplements.

And with all those things in place, hopefully you won’t have to spend too much time this winter figuring out which accessories best match the crusted snot on that brown sweater of yours.

What action will you take today?

How will you help prevent the spread of germs in your house?

Have You Read These Yet?

This post was sponsored by iHerb who gave me several different Nature’s Way products to try as well as compensation for my time to write this article. All the opinions shared here are my own, though, because I’m stubborn and don’t like being told what to do. 

We 
Citations

Sneezed Germs Travel HOW Far? Weather.com
How Far Do Germs Travel? PBS.org
Hand Hygeine. AAP.org
Handwashing Poster. CDC.gov
Cover Your Cough: Stop the Spread of Germs That Make You and Others Sick. CDC.gov
Pacifiers: A User’s Guide for Parents. CaringForKids.cps.ca
Benefits of Echinacea Goldenseal. Livestrong.com
Coconut Oil Benefits. DrAxe.com
Should You Take Probiotics? Health.Harvard.edu
Calcium and Calcium Supplements: Finding the Right Balance. MayoClinic.org

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