Real talk: Your adorable baby is a germ and virus dispenser that reloads during every play date or few hours at day care. And it’s the biological prerogative of the viruses, bacteria, and parasites that travel home on your kid’s chewable little toesies to infect you as early and often as possible. Next thing you know there’s crying, sneezing, and puking — and your kid isn’t in great shape, either. If jokes like that make you as nauseous as whatever your kid’s got this week, follow these tips on how to prevent getting sick (since you really should be staying home with them).
Your first defense is the most obvious: wash your hands. Then wash them again. Then do so compulsively when your kid has poop-borne illnesses like Norwalk virus or Giardiasis, which both cause cramping and diarrhea. This is ultra important around diaper and clothing changes (wash those ASAP, by the way) and baths. Just wash your hands. In fact, go wash them right now.
All clean? Cool. A few more infection mitigation practices ranging from fairly standard to “I wish you’d never told me I could get that“:
- No sharing food or anything that touches food. Hopefully you avoid inadvertently teaching your kid to claim what’s theirs by licking it.
- Keep your distance. Viruses can only travel as far as your kid can spit, so kindly explain to them that no, you don’t want to know a secret.
- Stay extra clear of any obvious physical signs of viral activity. For example, Coxsackie virus, also known by the far less giggle-worthy title of “Hand, foot, and mouth disease,” an infection that eventually results in fluid filled sores on the hands, feet, and … you get it. Your kid will be contagious as long as the sores are present, and for some time after.
- Vaccination, the sooner the better. Particularly for Chickenpox, especially if you’ve never had it. Again, keep your distance as much as possible. Chickenpox virus lingers in saliva, so back up from your little close talker until things clear up.
What distance and good hand-washing (or hand-sanitizing gel, in emergencies) can’t solve, some holistic measures may help. For instance, you can avoid the common cold by getting as much enough sleep, fresh air, and good fruits and veggies as possible. And if you’re still worried, read some more detailed advice on how to keep yourself golden.