It’s no secret that children have less well-developed immune systems, which means that they can easily get sick. Studies estimate that the average child can catch between six and 10 cold every year. But where are they coming into contact with all of those germs? Here are some of the most popular places they might be contracting them so that you can better protect against germs.
One of the most common places your child might be picking up bacteria is during their sports practices or other after school activities. It seems like a fairly straightforward idea, as they touch a lot of equipment and uniforms that have been shared by others. However, it occurs in almost every sport that they might be participating in, not just the big, sweaty ones like softball or soccer. For example, have you thought about the amount of bacteria they can pick up by participating in gymnastics? Approximately 5.4 million children aged six and older participated in this sport in 2016 alone. That’s a lot of germs just from sharing the horizontal bar. The same kind of argument can be made for something like swimming, but kids usually shower off after being in the pool. The same can’t always be said for something like gymnastics, which isn’t a particularly sweaty sport.
On the same note, some of these germs might be coming from their own toys or electronics that they come into contact with on a regular basis. Children are almost always sharing their toys with one another, and that makes it hard to keep track of who and what has been touching their things. You might be able to keep an eye on them in a place like a park or at your own home, but how can you be sure the clean daycare you take them to isn’t the culprit? It only takes one sick child to come into contact with your own to get them sick. And that’s the problem.
There are also other public places that could be to blame, such as restaurants. That’s right, picking up restaurant bacteria is a real issue since you’re not always sure who came in before you or how thoroughly your table was wiped down. And since flu viruses can live on a hard surface for up to two days, even a seemingly clean place might have lots of restaurant bacteria that could end up getting your child sick. This means that restaurant cleaning procedures don’t always mean your table is completely void of restaurant bacteria.
So what does this mean? Protecting children from illness is a little harder than you might have imagined. But don’t worry, you don’t have to lock your child in a bubble to keep them healthy. Just make sure you encourage them with healthy behaviors such as washing their hands more often or for longer times. The CDC always recommends 15 to 20 seconds with soap and water to make sure that those germs don’t stick around.