News of the recent COVID-19 virus has spread much fear and worry throughout the world as the virus infects more people and claims lives. Schools in Malaysia are also taking extra measures to prevent the virus from spreading. These measures include checking temperatures of students and staff before they enter school grounds and requesting for those who have travelled to China recently to be self-quarantined for two weeks. 

We are aware that it is a scary time for all but having good hygiene is one of the best ways to prevent getting sick! Here are five effective hygiene tips to teach your children: 

 

1. Wash hands regularly

Washing hands is such a simple thing but it is important to teach your children how to wash their hands the right way. Always scrub hands with soap and make sure the areas between fingers, under the fingernails and top of hands are washed. Effective hand washing takes as long as singing Happy Birthday twice! Tell your children to wash their hands before and after every meal, after playing outside or with pets, and after being in contact with someone who is sick. Besides that, advise your children to use hand sanitisers only when needed and that it does not replace hand washing. 

 

2. Practice good toilet hygiene 

Once your child is old enough to use the toilet on their own, it is important to teach them how to use the toilet properly. Teach them to wipe thoroughly from front to back and to wash their hands properly after they are done. Always pack toilet wipes in case public bathrooms do not provide toilet paper or bidets. In addition, you can teach your children to use toilet paper to cover the seat when using public bathrooms. Also, tell them to flush and don’t leave a mess! Having good toilet habits will help keep infections and irritation at bay. 

 

3. Minimise face touching

Aren’t we all guilty of touching our faces with unwashed hands? Germs are present on every surface imaginable. Door knobs, train straps/grab handles, handrails, digital devices, computer mouses, lift buttons, staircase bannisters and TV remotes are common places for germs to live. As we touch different things throughout the day, germs will stick to our hands. Therefore, it is important to teach your children not to touch their faces, rub their lips and mouth, and rub their eyes with dirty hands to prevent germs from getting into their bodies. 

 

4. Have proper etiquette when sick

It is normal to get sick with the common flu with symptoms such as fever, runny nose and coughing. If your child falls sick, teach them to cough and sneeze into a tissue or handkerchief. Sneezing or coughing uncovered may cause droplets to escape and infect others. These droplets can travel up to two metres! Furthermore, it is important to dispose contaminated tissues after sneezing and relieve phlegm in the sink. Advise your children to wash their hands often when they are sick and wear a mask if needed. 

 

5. Practice good body hygiene

It is also important to teach your children to have good overall body hygiene. Guide them to brush their teeth properly twice a day to have good breath, prevent gum disease and keep cavities at bay. For underarm care, advise your children to wash their underarms and change into clean clothes after sports practice. Other good habits include trimming fingernails and toenails and changing towels and bedsheets weekly. 

Instilling these habits in your children will teach them the importance of good hygiene which will last throughout their lives! 

 

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