Every year we hear a few horror stories about children who become terribly ill. Even if we disregard the extreme stories, children still get sick very often. The average American child will get six to 10 colds every year, and the CDC estimates that 22 million days of schooling are lost every year just due to the common cold.
Why are Kids So Sick?
For one thing, children have immune systems that have not developed as fully as the immune system of an adult. This makes them more vulnerable to illness outbreaks. For another, children are far less careful with cross contamination and have a hard time even comprehending the issue of something being biologically clean. It’s tremendously difficult to train them not to put their hands and fingers all over their faces and in their mouths, which means that germs and bacteria spread quickly and easily wherever children are present.
What Threats are Out There For Children?
The flu virus is able to survive on a hard surface for as long as two whole days, making surface disinfecting a serious issue for childcare facilities and even private homes. The flu is often a fairly minor illness, but there are many years when the flu virus is particularly virulent and even deadly. The flu is just one of the germs out there: there’s also the common cold virus, various staph infections, noroviruses that cause vomiting and diarrhea, and all kinds of bacteria. Add to this that it takes a minimum of 15 seconds of vigorous washing with soap and water for hands to be completely clean of germs, and it’s easy to understand why children are at such risk. Not only is it nearly impossible to get a child to wash his hands for that long, but even among adults, only 5% wash their hands for this amount of time.
What Can Keep Kids Safe?
If kids aren’t washing their hands well, and even adults aren’t doing it well, either, what can be done to help keep kids safe? Surface disinfecting is key, as well as disinfecting carpet and applying long-term antimicrobial treatments to childcare facilities, gyms, and any other facilities where children will be spending a lot of time.
Children need to be free to live as children. They need to be protected, yet they simply cannot be constantly thinking about hygiene and infection defense, so it’s up to caregivers and facility owners to think about surface disinfecting and equipment cleanliness on their behalf. Most communities have infection prevention specialists available to hire to keep facilities, daycares, and even homes clean and disinfected. Look into what’s available in your area and make sure that your kids are safe and protected.