Monday, October 11, 2010

Pass the potatoes...not the germs

Hello All.

So I am writing to you on five hours of sleep interrupted by alarms to dole out medicine to my baby.  My vision is blurry and my head is pounding. If the coffee doesn't kick in in about 3 seconds I'm tempted to bathe in it and let the caffeine saturate my entire body. 

I've mentioned before that my little Eli has had some breathing problems in the past. By all outward appearances he is a happy and healthy baby boy. And most of the time he is. However, because of his issues in the past he is more susceptible to contracting illnesses than most.  Especially respiratory stuff. Last night his fever spiked to 104. He has never had a fever so high and was lethargic. I was terrified. During the 20 minute drive to the ER I was either praying or wondering why we moved so far away from civilization.  Momma was a wreck.  Once he was all checked out and we found out it was a respiratory infection I was told that about 80% of the patients they are seeing in ER right now are coming in with this same virus! And they said what is worse is a lot of people are making two trips to the hospital because they are reinfecting themselves.

This brings me to the topic of this blog. Everyone is wiping down handles on the supermarket buggy, and lysoling the phones at work and washing their hands with hand sanitizer whenever they see a bottle in public. But what are you doing once you've been sick? Do you replace your toothbrush after you've been sick? How about the kids stuff, bed sheets, pillow protectors, favorite blankets or softies, and yes even TOYS. 

Here is what should be done after the kiddos are sick to prevent reinfection of themselves and others:  Softies (includes blankets, sheets, stuffed animals) throw all the stuff you used to comfort the little ones into the washing machine. If its stuffed animals use the gentle cycle. And drying is really the most important part - the heat from the dryer will kill any germ still living on your stuff. Use the dishwasher for toys that don't have little areas you can't get into to dry thoroughly. The steam from the dishwasher can get into all those nooks and crannies and if everything doesn't dry properly you can get mold and mildew growing inside and then you have a whole new world of problems. The safest way to take care of all of this though is to fill your sink or bathtub with a few inches of warm to hot water and add a little bleach. There are instructions on most bleach bottles for this purpose so please follow the recommendations! Make sure you wash off all the toys and get all the surfaces. Dry as best you can and if you cant get to it don't worry the bleach will not only help it dry faster but will inhibit growth of any unwanted germs.  For the bigger toys, wipe it down with antibacterial wipes.

Don't forget to wipe down cribs too! Tables, door knobs, door casements, cabinet doors, etc. Whatever your baby may have touched make sure you run over it with disinfectant.  Toothbrushes get replaced (that goes for when adults get sick too). And don't reuse sippy cups or pacifiers until they have been disinfected by the dishwasher. 

Its Fall now, my favorite time of year. But it's also cold and flu season so stay hydrated, take a multi-vitamin to help your immune system fight off bugs and most importantly go outdoors and enjoy! Next weekend we are taking a big family trip to a pumpkin farm's fall festival! Until next time, stay healthy.


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