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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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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.

Mop the floor.
Cleaning hard surface floors with an appropriate detergent and water will remove dust, dirt, germs and visible mold growth and should be done weekly - especially during cold and flu season.

Choose functional tissues.
"The latest trend in tissues are virucidal tissues," says Schachter. "These tissues prevent the spread of viruses around the house because it kills them when you blow your nose." Encourage your child to cover his nose or mouth when sneezing or coughing, and after using tissues, throw them away!

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Reviewed on October 18, 2007

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