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Germs in the Bedroom

Germs are often spread through shared toys. Try these 10 tips to beat bacteria in the bedroom and playroom.

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Choose area rugs over wall-to-wall carpeting.
"Children's rooms should have small area rugs that that are washed weekly -- especially during cold and flu season," Schachter says. Flu season spans from November through March, while cold season runs from about September until March or April. "Never use wall-to-wall carpet as this is hard to clean and carpets can harbor tremendous amount of germs and allergens."

Limit play dates during cold and flu season.
This may seem harsh, but during flu season an infected child can spread a cold or flu 24 hours before symptoms begin, Schachter explains. "During play dates, children have intimate contact with other children because they touch toys, they touch each other's cups, then they put their hands in mouth and touch other things and each other," he says. "There is more contact with bodily fluid between children when compared with adults and that spreads germs," he says. "I certainly would not encourage sleepover dates during flu season."

Make sure toys are clean.
"You can wash stuffed animals in the washing machine weekly during cold and flu season," Schachter says. "Plastic toys such as Legos can be washed with soap and water and board game surfaces can be wiped down with disinfecting wipes." Horowitz adds that "kids are touching everything including parts of their own body that may be contaminated and then touching toys or mouthing them and then sharing them with playmates."

Change bed sheets weekly.
"Sheets can be repositories for germs that cause colds and flus and need to be changed weekly. If your child is sick, this should be done more often as they get even more soiled," Schachter says. "If you have allergies, use dust mite covers on the bed to reduce exposure," he says. "If your children share a bedroom and one of your kids is sick, take the healthy one into your room at night on a cot to reduce the amount of germs that he or she is exposed to."

Keep Fido off the bed.
"No matter how much your children beg, don't let pets sleep in their bedroom or bed as their furry coats may be great hiding places for both germs and allergens," Schachter says.

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