Staying Well During a Health Emergency

An article with healthy strategies for the whole family.

There are several important ways to stay well during a health emergency.

Washy Wash

  • Wash your hands often for at least 20 seconds. Important times to wash: after you sneeze or cough, before eating, and after using the bathroom.
  • Make sure children can easily reach the sink, soap, and towels. If soap is not available, use alcohol-based hand cleanser with at least 60% alcohol.*
  • Have children sing the entire alphabet song twice as they scrub, so they know how long to wash.

Can’t Touch This!

  • Touching your face is normal—humans touch their face an average of of 20 times per hour!**—but keeping your hands away from your face  really helps prevent the spread of germs.
  • Use positive reinforcement to encourage little ones to keep their hands away from their face. Say, “I like that you’re not touching your face right now.”

Cover It Up

  • If you need to cough or sneeze, cover your mouth or nose with a tissue and throw it away after using it, then wash your hands. If you don’t have a tissue handy, cough or sneeze into the bend of your arm to help keep hands germ-free.
  • Help children practice coughing into the bend of their arm. Show them how their elbow makes a little corner when they bend their arm and remind them to “cough into the corner.”

* Centers for Disease Control

** School of Public Health and Community Medicine, UNSW Medicine, UNSW Australia, Sydney, NSW, Australia.