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Tips to Prevent Germs from Spreading continued...

When warm water and soap aren’t available, use an alcohol-based sanitizing gel -- just make sure to rub your hands together vigorously for about 20 seconds until the gel evaporates.



Wash your own hands.
To prevent germs from spreading, the same advice goes for you too. Don’t get so focused on wiping down your sick toddler’s toys that you forget to wash your own hands. It’s important for a couple of reasons. First, you don’t want to get sick -- taking care of a sick toddler while being sick yourself can be punishing.



But second, if you’re not washing your hands, you could actually be the one who infects your healthy child -- even if you don’t get sick. All it might take is for you to pick up your sick toddler’s tissues and then make your healthy kid’s lunch. Bingo: you’ve got two sick children.



Step up your disinfecting. Even if you’re not germ-obsessed usually, now might be a time to focus more on disinfecting surfaces in your home. It can help prevent germs from spreading.



“I think when one child is sick, some extra sanitizing around the house can definitely help prevent other family members from getting it,” Altmann tells WebMD.



What should you do? You could wipe off surfaces that your sick toddler has touched -- like doorknobs, tables, and handrails -- with a disinfectant. Many plastic toys can be thrown in the dishwasher, and many stuffed animals in the washing machine. If your sick toddler is suffering from vomiting and diarrhea, take extra care to disinfect the toilet, floor, and sink in the bathroom.



That said, don’t make yourself crazy in your attempts to prevent germs from spreading. You don’t want to spend your days following your sick toddler around the house, spraying everything in her wake with disinfectant. Besides, it won’t work. There’s no way that you’ll be able to eradicate all of the germs anyway.

Practice good diaper hygiene. Be especially careful with dirty diapers now -- particularly if you have more than one kid wearing them. The changing table could be a spot where your kids exchange germs. So you could decide to use the changing table only for your sick toddler and change your healthy kid somewhere else. Or you could always lay a fresh blanket over the changing pad when putting a diaper on your healthy child.



Don’t allow sharing at meals. Mealtimes may usually be chaotic, with your kids regularly swapping silverware, cups, and food. For now, do what you can to prevent that.

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