We all know that germs are everywhere and can make your or your family very sick. They come from the food we eat, the bathroom, and even your family and friends. Here are a few tips to help keep the germs away from your family so they can stay happy and healthy.

Nothing is better for getting rid of germs than washing your hands with good old soap and water. It’s important for you and your family to wash your hands after cooking, after using the restroom, when you’re sick, or after anything else that gets your hands dirty.

It’s important to not only wash your hands, but to do it properly. You should always remember to use soap and warm water. Once your hands are wet and soaped up, you should rub them while counting to 20. When you’re done, rinse your hands and dry them with a clean towel. Use a towel to turn the faucet off so you don’t get all the old dirt back on your hands. While you may be tempted to use anti-bacterial soaps, these can actually strengthen some bacteria instead of killing them. Regular soap will do the job just fine.

In addition to soap and water, it’s a good idea to keep hand sanitizer for when you just can’t get to the sink. Just dab some on your hands before eating outdoor snacks or after coughing or blowing noses, to help kill germs. While it’s no substitute for hand washing, it can kill germs until you can get to a sink.

In addition to hands, you need to make sure to kill germs on surfaces. Many times, germs die on surfaces with exposure to air alone, but there are some cases where you should take extra steps to clean up.

* In the kitchen. Always take time to clean up after you cook. Deadly bacteria can not only come from your meat, but also from other food. Sanitize counters, dishes, and other surfaces after you’ve made meals. A few extra minutes can keep your family healthy.

* Visible dirt. Dirt on your surfaces can help protect germs from the air and keep them around longer. Always be sure to scrub and sanitize surfaces that have dirt tracked on them.

* When someone is sick. Often, when one member of the family gets sick, everyone else does too. When someone in your house has an active infection, it’s hard to keep the germs contained. Be sure to have the sick person sanitize surfaces and themselves to keep the sickness from spreading to everyone else.

* In the bathroom. The bathroom is a great place for germs to come and hang out. Be sure to clean yours regularly even if no one is sick. If you have little ones that aren’t potty trained, be sure to keep their changing area clean and sanitized as well.

Just remember, some germs are good for you. Plus, the germs that don’t kill you strengthen your immune system and may keep you from getting a more serious infection in the future. You don’t need to go overboard; just use these general safety precautions.