Knowing how germs spread is an important start in preventing them spreading at home. Answering questions like “what are germs?” and “how is norovirus spread?” as well as learning tips for easy disinfection will help protect your family at home.
What are germs?
Germs are microscopic bacteria and viruses that can cause us to become ill.
How long do germs live?
Germs that cause flu, norovirus and other illnesses can live for up to 24 hours on hard surfaces.
How do germs spread?
If you understand how germs spread, you’ll be able to prevent them spreading. Three ways germs spread are:
- Touching surfaces that someone carrying the germs has touched.
- During nappy changes, especially if they have diarrhoea.
- By petting animals.
How can you prevent the spread of germs?
Knowing how germs spread is step one in understanding how to prevent them spreading; and these four top tips will also help you protect your home from germs and viruses:
- Wash your hands regularly, especially before and after visiting someone who’s unwell, and when preparing food.
- Avoid coughing or sneezing into your hands. Instead use the crook of your elbow or a tissue.
- Products like Domestos and Jif are key to the disinfection of regularly touched surfaces like door handles, worktops and bathroom surfaces.However, make to always use any new product or method on small inconspicuous area first and read the instructions on the label.
- Teach your kids about germs, and how they can help stop them spreading.
Easy lessons about germs for kids
There’s a great experiment that can be used a lesson about germs for kids. It’s easy and fun as well as educational.
Firstly, teach them what germs are. For younger kids explain that germs are little bugs that live on things and can make you ill. For older kids explain the difference between bacteria and viruses; and also go one step further and teach them about antibiotics and why they work for some, but not all, illnesses.
Secondly, how is infection spread can be answered by growing some germs. Using two slices of bread, a zip lock sandwich bag for each slice (label one “washed” and one “unwashed”) and a spray bottle follow these simple steps:
- Brush off visible dirt from your kid’s hands and allow them to handle one of the slices of bread; then place it in the “unwashed” bag.
- Now get your kids to wash their hands.
- After their hands are clean, get them to handle the second slice of bread; then place it in the “washed” bag.
- Next, ask your kids to add a couple of gentle sprays of water into each bag using the spray bottle.
- Zip the bags closed and pop them on a shelf or inside a cupboard. Be sure they are out of reach of your kids.
- Every few days check the bags. Your kids should be able to see which one starts to grow mould quickest.
From knowing the answer to questions such as “how long do germs live?” to tips for quick and easy disinfection you can help protect your family and prevent the germs from spreading in your home.