A woman and child work in a flowerbed.
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Thomas J. Story

Playgrounds

There’s just no way to put this delicately: Children tend to ooze bodily fluids and then spread them around. “When we sampled playgrounds, we were pretty aghast at what we found -- blood, mucus, saliva, urine,” Kelly Reynolds, Ph.D., says. Pair those findings with the fact that children put their fingers in their mouths and noses more than the rest of us, and it’s easy to understand why Junior (and maybe his mom or dad) has the sniffles.

Reduce the risk: Carry alcohol wipes or hand-sanitizing gel in your purse, and clean everybody’s hands a couple of times during a park visit, especially before snacking. Pick warm sunny days for outdoor play: “The sun’s ultraviolet light is actually a very effective disinfectant. Most bugs won’t survive long on surfaces that are hot and dry,” says Howard Backer, M.D., MPH, an expert in communicable diseases in Richmond, California.









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