A Breath of fresh air or a mouthful of germs?

It is rather alarming to think that you can get a cold or the flu simply by breathing! So how do you protect your little one from “catching” these germs?

Firstly, identify the common ways that infections can spread. Infectious diseases can spread through the below direct or indirect methods:

  1. Droplets: 1 The spray of droplets released when someone coughs or sneezes can cause the spread of the virus. These droplets can also be released when a person close to you speaks! Since the droplets fall to the ground within a few metres, this type of transmission requires close proximity between individuals.
  2. Airborne transmission: 1,2 Airborne diseases can spread when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or talks. These infectious agents remain airborne for an extended period before being inhaled or landing on a surface.
  3. Direct contact: 1,2 Some diseases can spread through direct touch with a contaminated surface. This transmission occurs when an infected person touches a surface and then you touch the same surface and then touch your own eyes, nose or mouth.

Secondly, understand how to avoid getting a cold or the flu from an “infected cough”?

  • Washing your hands with soap is one of the most important ways to prevent the spread of germs or to contract germs. About 80% of infectious diseases are spread by touch 3
  • One of the most common ways you can a get cold is by rubbing your nose or eyes after cold virus germs have gotten on your hands 4
  • Move away from a person who sneezes or coughs and keep your distance. If possible, leave the room 4
  • You have a higher risk of becoming ill when you’re around sick people or in areas susceptible to germs. If you work in or visit a day-care center, hospital, or a doctor’s office, take extra precautions to protect yourself 1
  • Do not cover your mouth with your hands when you cough or sneeze, this will leave germs on your hands that can be spread by touching other people or objects. Cough or sneeze into a tissue or, if a tissue isn’t available, onto your sleeve.5 Immediately throw away the tissue after use, placing it in a nearby waste basket or container 4,5

While trying to prevent germs from infecting the rest of the family is a noble goal, remember that the odds are against you. Even if you’re careful, once a virus is in the house, it’s very hard to contain. 3

DISCLAIMER: This editorial has been commissioned and brought to you by iNova Pharmaceuticals. Content in this editorial is for general information only and is not intended to provide medical or other professional advice. For more information on your medical condition and treatment options, speak to your healthcare professional.

Name and business address of the holder of the certificate of registration: iNova Pharmaceuticals (Pty) Ltd,. Co. Reg. No. 1952/001640/07, 15e Riley Road, Bedfordview. Tel. No. 011 087 0000. www.inovapharma.co.za. For further information, speak to your healthcare professional. Further information is available on request from iNova Pharmaceuticals. IN3178/19

References:

  1. How Are Diseases Transmitted? [online] October 2016 [cited February 2018]; Available from URL: https://www.healthline.com/health/disease-transmission#takeaway
  2. What Are Airborne Diseases? [online] December 2016 [cited February 2019] Available from URL: https://www.healthline.com/health/airborne-diseases#prevention
  3. When Kids Are Sick: How to Prevent Germs from Spreading. [online] November 2011 [cited February 2019]; Available from URL: https://www.webmd.com/parenting/features/stopping-germs?print=true
  4. Germs in the School Room. [online] December 2011 [cited February 2019]; Available from URL: https://www.webmd.com/children/features/germs-in-school-room?print=true
  5. Healthy Children. Germ Prevention Strategies. [online] February 2016 [cited February 2019]; Available from URL: https://www.healthychildren.org/english/health-issues/conditions/prevention/pages/germ-prevention-strategies.aspx