RSV Cases on the Rise

In a nutshell… Cases of the contagious viral respiratory illness known as RSV are on the increase in the U.S. This article provides general and practical information on RSV, including national statistics, symptoms, warning signs of severe infection, and prevention.   This winter doctors are reporting a surge in cases of respiratory syncytial (pronounced sin-SISH-uhl)

How to Sanitize and Disinfect Surfaces in Childcare Environments

Childcare environments are notorious for spreading infections. Parents can teach children to wash their hands, cover coughs and sneezes (with a tissue or their elbows, not their hands), and keep hands out of their mouths and eyes to help prevent them from getting or spreading an infectious illness. (See, for example, this CDC cartoon video.) Unfortunately, these lessons cannot be taught to babies and very young toddlers. 

How to Sanitize Ball Pit Balls to Help Prevent the Spread of Infection

Children love to play in ball pits whether for fun or as part of a physical therapy. When I see them gleefully navigating those tubs of colorful spheres, it occurs to me they are engaging in a form of “dry swimming.” In place of water, they “swim” through a medium of lightweight plastic balls. Unlike swimming pool water, however, there is no standard method to treat ball pit balls to help prevent the spread of infectious illness. Based on recent research that identified a host of pathogens in pediatric therapy ball pits, I suggest the time to evaluate the need for such guidance is now.

Hand-washing for the Holidays

Proper hand-washing is one of the most important steps families can take to avoid colds, flu, stomach bugs, and other viruses swirling around us this Holiday Season. Make it fun: teach kids to lather up their hands with warm water and soap for about 20 seconds, which is approximately as long as it takes to

A Fun Holiday Hand-washing Activity for Kids

As our families and friends gather to celebrate the holidays, we look forward to enjoying good company, delicious food and exchanging gifts.  One aspect of the holidays we don’t enjoy, however, is exchanging the germ du jour. Many adults are aware that frequent hand-washing—and hand sanitizer use in a pinch–can help avoid the “re-gifted” germs

A Fun Way to Teach Kids about Hand-washing

How can you help your children avoid some of the infectious illnesses that will be shared this season? According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, proper hand-washing is one of the most important ways to avoid getting sick and spreading germs to others. But nagging kids to wash their hands is seldom

Foregoing Childhood Immunizations: Fear and Consequences

Parents can use this CDC “button” to create a personalized vaccination schedule for children 6 years old or younger Childhood immunizations protect against a wide variety of diseases, including diphtheria, measles, mumps, whooping cough (pertussis), polio, rubella, varicella (chicken pox) and smallpox.  Yet, some parents reject these immunizations as unsafe, citing a fear of potential

On Germaphobia

“Let kids be kids.” “Everything spreads germs. Stop being germaphobes and let your kids have fun.”  These were some of the comments from a lively exchange on the Moms Against Cooties Facebook page following a May 22 post on “How to Keep Kids Healthy and Prevent Illness at the Water Park.”  Is the Water Quality

Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease Highlights Need for Hygiene in Child Care Settings

Hand, foot and mouth diseasei is a viral illness caused by coxsackievirus. Afflicting mostly children, coxsackievirus normally causes mild fever and rash or sores on the palms of the hands and soles of the feet, and sores or blisters in the mouth. Recently, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported coxsackievirus A6

Microbiologist Mom Addresses Daycare Disinfection

It’s a recurring dream:  I am dashing through the house in preparation for a work day that begins with dropping my children at daycare.  Finally, everyone’s dressed and ready to go and we pull out of the driveway only to return minutes later for my forgotten lecture notes, or more urgently, a treasured stuffed animal.