Aug. 20, 2009 at 11:15am
From the Desk of Rob Nohle, M.D.
Group Health Cooperative Chief of Pediatrics and KQ Board Member
As we head into a new school year we wanted to touch on germs, cleanliness and what we do to keep KidsQuest clean for our visitors. Here is an excerpt, written by Dr. Rob Nohle, from our Winter 2008 newsletter:
KidsQuest prides itself on being a clean and safe environment for children and adults. Germs are all around us. Germs are just a general term for viruses or bacteria. Not all germs are bad. For example, all of us have bacteria living in our intestines that play a role in keeping us healthy. Our immune system develops and matures through exposure to things in our environment. So having said that, is it possible to be too clean? It seems that we hear more and more often about superbugs on the news which raises public awareness of germs. It is hard not to get a compulsion to excess and want to wash up every time we touch something. Many health care experts feel that it is important to be exposed to germs so that we can develop a natural immunity to common illnesses. Another concern is that we are encouraging more resistant germs with all the antibacterial soaps available today. There are some studies that show that children exposed to many different things early in childhood, such as households with many siblings, those who live on farms, or attend daycare are much less likely to develop allergic diseases than children who face none of these things.
So, how are we exposed to the multitude of germs? Your hands are the single most important thing involved in the spread of germs that cause illness. Touching objects such as doorknobs, grocery cart handles or faucets and then touching your face can lead to an illness. A few things are airborne such as influenza, chickenpox, or measles, but most illnesses are not.
The single most important way to prevent infections is by teaching our children to wash their hands with soap and water for approximately 30 seconds. When there is no soap and water available, hand sanitizers or wipes are another option.
The final message is that germs are everywhere and play an important role in our health, both good and bad. The key is to find a balance so that it does not lead to having our children grow up in a bubble.How do we keep KidsQuest clean?
for the answer and feel free to post a comment/question/suggestion or email us
. Also, don't forget, KidsQuest is closed Sept. 7th-11th for our annual SuperClean.