Oft-forgotten germ spreader: lip balm!

Lisa’s on the germ hunt:

My family has been passing the cold bug around to one another. So I’ve been trying to catch all the ways that our germs are spreading (buying new toothbrushes, careful with sharing cups etc). I just realized one germ factory that I had overlooked – CHAPSTICK! My 22-month-old LOVES lip balm and slathers it on every chance he gets – if he finds one, it will be completely germified in about a second! So I bought each family member a personal lip balm and now everyone has their own color. We are all PROHIBITED from using one that is not ours. My son know that his is black and won’t even touch ours!

I also noticed that we all use the same hand towel to dry our faces after brushing teeth…germifying potential there, too. I’m not generally a germiphobe — I just keep getting everyone to wash hands every hour or two when someone’s sick — but one may as well get rid of obvious culprits.

What do you do to keep a kid’s cold from getting passed around?

More: Best of Parent Hacks: Cold and flu season tips


  1. Tyler says

    I try to teach our kids to sneeze into their sleeves instead of into their hands. This keeps them from spreading germs and keeps their hands clean.

  2. Kate says

    We all wash hands after coming in from outside. Wherever we’ve been, I figure we should leave the germs of the unwashed masses behind before we start playing with our own stuff.

    I throw away lip balm or scrape off a bunch after I’ve been sick, if I used it during the cold.

  3. Christy Foster says

    I make my kiddos use Purell a lot and wipe stuff down with Clorox wipes. I run their toothbrushes through the dishwasher if I don’t have new ones. I also change out towels often or one brushes their teeth in the bathroom and the other one in the kitchen.

  4. Stacy says

    For sure wipe down all the places your hands touch — doorknobs, telephones, the vanity, kitchen cabinets, etc. I’m not a germ-phobe either, but those bacteria and viruses can be stubborn little buggers and a bit of overkill can be needed sometimes. Clorox wipes are super for this.

  5. says

    Everything gets washed in the dishwasher, and if you’re not absolutely positive it was your glass, or if you think someone else could have picked it up, then you get a fresh one before you drink out of it.
    I echo all of the towel washing. We segregate towels (each with our own color/rack) and wash every two or three days.

  6. says

    Frequently people have only one drinking cup in the bathroom. My boys have all their own items until they brush their teeth, but then suddenly sanitation goes out the window as they both rinse after toothbrushing with the same cup. Gotta change that.

  7. says

    A commendable idea…but I think the idea that you can truly quarantine the germs of one or two family members from everybody else in the house is pure folly. You can try, but no matter how much hand-washing and sanitizing wipes you wage your war with, the germs usually win. Better to save your energy for those late-night Gatorade runs. I know this sounds rather defeatist, but in my experience trying to keep one from getting what the other had NEVER worked.

  8. says

    Gosh! We’re not nearly as thorough at Chez Lee. We maintain all our regular cleaning and rules of ‘wash hands after going toilet and before eating'; but when it comes to germs – they’re so many ‘in the air’ through coughs and sneezes that it’s pretty hard not to stop the spread.

    Thankfully, the children seem only mildly affected by cold viruses and bounce back quickly. And I figure it all strengthens their immune systems anyway.

    But when I catch the darn bugs the whole house knows about it! My glands are currently swollen to golf ball proportions and my head is spinning. Hubbie has taken the children out and given me strict orders to rest in bed and not touch the housework. So what am I doing? Geeking on the computer! Right, must go to bed now…