The Best Ways to Disinfect a Kid's Room After Strep

Strep is a highly contagious bacteria that usually causes a severe sore throat 1. The bacteria is spread when an infected person coughs or sneezes into the air and another person inhales the germs. If your child has recently recovered from a bout of strep, it's crucial to sanitize his bedroom, both to prevent him from becoming reinfected and to keep the rest of your family healthy, too. In fact, you might want to sanitize the entire house while you're at it.

Clean Up Trash and Other Items

Collect discarded tissues and throw them in the trash. Used tissues can harbor the strep bacteria, and if someone in your family touches the tissue and then her face, she's likely to also come down with strep. Wash your hands thoroughly after touching the used tissues. Wash any dishes and utensils your child used while she was lying in bed recovering, too. Use hot, soapy water or run them through the sanitize cycle on your dishwasher to kill the strep bacteria.

Wash the Sheets

Strip your child's bed and wash his sheets, pillowcases and blankets in hot water. Use the hot water setting on your washing machine because it will kill the strep germs and sanitize the sheets and blankets. Tumble dry the bedding, which will also help sanitize them. Wash any clothing or pajamas your child wore while he was sick and any towels he used to bathe. Use the hot water setting for these, too, which will destroy the bacteria and reduce the risk of anyone else in the family getting strep.

Sanitize Surfaces

Wipe down any surfaces in your child's bedroom, including her bed, dresser, bookshelf and desk. Use a solution of 1 part bleach to 4 parts water, recommends Kimberly Button, author of "The Everything Guide to a Healthy Home." You can also wipe surfaces thoroughly with sanitizing wipes. If your child has a hardwood floor, vacuum and mop it to destroy any bacteria that might have migrated downward. Run any toys your child played with through the sanitizing cycle on your dishwasher or wash them with hot water and soap. Wash her stuffed animals in the washing machine to kill the strep bacteria.

Additional Tips

If your child spent time anywhere else in your house while he was sick with strep, sanitize those areas, too. Wipe down light switches, chairs and tables that your child touched. You might also consider replacing his toothbrush, which can harbor the strep bacteria if he used it while he was sick. If you don't want to use bleach to sanitize your home, hydrogen peroxide works to kill bacteria, too. Button recommends hydrogen peroxide-based bleach as a safer alternative to chlorine bleach, and it works just as effectively. If you opt to use sanitizing wipes, remember that it takes several seconds for the cleaning agents to destroy the germs. Wipe the surfaces well and then let the cleaning product air dry to kill as much of the bacteria as possible.

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