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Protect Your Child From Mr Germ

Meet Mr. Germ - a crafty invader targeting everyone from infants to adults. His goal is to make us sick! The cold and flu season is his favorite time of the year, and everyone is a target. Once he finds a 'victim', he can spread his germs from one person to another in a fairly rapid chain reaction. First, let's dispense with the notion that cold or wet weather will make you sick.

It won't. But germs will. Knowledge is a powerful tool against the germ menace and knowing the definition of a germ is a good place to start. There are four major types of germs: bacteria, viruses, fungi, and protozoa.

For people in most countries including the U.S., our main concern is bacteria and viruses.

Bacteria causes infections such as sore throats, ear infections, pneumonia and even cavities. Viruses are the germs that cause chickenpox, measles, flu, and other diseases. They can live for a while on things like doorknobs, a computer mouse or any other surface. Bottom line - germs are found everywhere in all kinds of places. For adults, particularly those with infants, toddlers or children in school, wellness begins with common sense.

Since most germs spread through the air from sneezing, coughing or even just breathing, it's important to cover your mouth and nose when you sneeze and your mouth when coughing. If you use a tissue, be sure to dispose of it immediately and wash your hands. Of course, germs also spread through sweat, saliva and blood. Just a simple handshake followed by touching your nose can cause germs to spread.

Since Mr. Germ's worst fear is soap and water, washing your hands often can help to keep Mr. Germ on the run. Have you ever stopped to think about the number of germs that are transmitted by shopping carts? How many hands - both adult and children - have grabbed the handle of the cart you select? If you have an infant or toddler in the seat, think of the germs that could be transmitted by another child's drooling or even something as gross as a leaky diaper! Many stores now provide antiseptic wipes by the entrance so you can disinfect the handle and seat. Use them! As the saying goes "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

" But is this enough for a child who hasn't built an immune system that's sufficient to fight off the many viruses that run rampant these days? There is something else you can do to foil Mr. Germ. A great creation, known as a shopping cart cover, was designed by a grandmother to help protect her grandchildren from illness. The cover typically does extra duty as a diaper bag and purse, plus a toy and bottle holder.

It quickly and easily rolls up to the size of a small duffle-type bag. You can hold your child with one hand, unroll the cart cover with the other, and be ready to in about 30 seconds. Best of all, they're colorful and attractive so your child goes shopping in style.

The design of the cover protects not only anything in reach of busy hands but bare legs as well. No part of your child will come in contact with an area touched by another child. One other area of concern is restaurant highchairs.

How many times have you found the tray to be sticky or otherwise unclean and the seat contains food from the previous user. This makes Mr. Germ very happy. You can foil his plan because the same cover used for the shopping cart doubles as a highchair cover.

There are also covers made specifically for high chairs that typically come with placemats for the tray. The best way to protect your family from germs is to steer clear of the things that can spread them and cause that inevitable chain reaction. The first step is to use common sense to protect against Mr. Germ. Then, focus on any products that can prevent the spread of bacteria and viruses. If just one of these suggestions works and saves a trip to the doctor, you're ahead of the game.

Janet Winter is a web designer, owner of three e-commerce sites, and writer on many topics including dogs, babies, wild birds, the Internet and travel. Her e-commerce sites are: , and

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