Friday, October 22, 2010

Go get grubby


Although it’s time for a Spring clean, it’s okay to let your children get grubby on a regular basis
It’s the middle of Spring and how many mums and dads can say they’ve successfully tackled the yearly Spring clean?
You know the tops of your kitchen cupboards are grimy and the floor under the fridge has a lovely carpet of dust, but who wants to clean places that no one can see?
It’s dirty work, but someone’s got to do it.
Unless you’ve got plenty of money to hire someone to do it for you, cleaning is an important part of running a home.
I’ve written before about how to get your children involved in household chores, but it’s worth pointing out that there is a difference between an untidy home, and a dirty home.
Untidy homes generally belong to those families with young children who tend to pull out every toy they have and leave it on the floor.
A dirty home is one that hasn’t seen a mop bucket in a while.
The problem with the latter is that dirty homes are unhealthy homes.

Did you know that the average light switch may have more germs than your rubbish bin?
Or that your telephone and computer keyboard harbours around 10,500 microbes per square meter?
Bacteria can breed at an alarming rate and within a few hours, enough bacteria may have been produced to cause serious illness.
For example, if food is contaminated with salmonella, it can result in very nasty stomach upsets along with diarrhoea and vomiting.
E-coli causes stomach upsets while listeria can potentially be fatal.
These sorts of bacteria can be passed not just through handling meat or consuming uncooked meat, but also from contact with contaminated hands, surfaces, utensils and door handles.
It can then be spread between people and objects by cross-contamination.
Some of the most unsuspecting places can be great spots for germs.
TV remotes, bathtubs and showers, pet food bowls, kitchen cloths and sponges, microwave buttons, light switches, door knobs, mobile phones, baby change tables, nappy bins, taps, handbags, wallets, money and shopping trolleys.
You don’t necessarily have to purchase a whole lot of chemical cleaners to rid your home of bacteria as there are a number of natural products which work just as well, and don’t contain all the toxins in your average household cleaners.
Vinegar, bicarbonate of soda, eucalyptus and lavender oils, and even lemons can help keep your home clean.
On the flip side, many parents agree that letting your kids get grubby exposes them to more dirt and germs at a young age.
This exposure builds up their immune system to fight off bacteria, germs, viruses, parasites and disease in the future.
If your environment is too clean it will not provide the necessary exposures needed to young immune systems.
This can result in an immune system not responding adequately to infection, but may also cause it to overreact to substances such as pollen.
If your children are encouraged to play outdoors with other children, and pet animals, they will be exposed to a wide range of bacteria and germs that will help them develop a strong immune system for life.
Parents should resist the urge to live in an overly sterile environment, especially if you have young babies and children.
So while you’re tackling the Spring cleaning, you should be relieved to know that you don’t have to go overboard with the bleech.

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