It's a good year to be a germophobe.
Hand sanitizers are everywhere. Obsessive hand-washing is socially acceptable. And the threat of the H1N1 flu has led to a slew of new products designed to keep germs at bay.
No doubt, fighting the flu is a messy business. To the rescue are products, many with kid-friendly names and various scents, many developed by moms who saw a problem and tried to solve it. The products are mostly found online, but some have expanded into retail stores. During a year when just about everyone is looking for ways to avoid germs or at least make the flu a little less miserable, there are plenty of ways to do it.
What it does: Let's face it, kids are going to wipe their runny noses on shirt sleeves. Two moms came up with a product to make it a little less disgusting. Sniffle Buddies were designed to catch the constant drip of a runny nose. They're not for heavy-duty nose blowing, just the sniffles. If you ever tucked a tissue in your sleeve, you know how a Sniffle Buddy works. It's made from soft, organic bamboo fabric that attaches to the wrist with Velcro. The material has naturally anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties to make it a little more sanitary, plus it's reusable. The cloth retains its anti-bacterial properties after more than 50 washings.
Why buy it: You won't have to chase your toddler around the room with a tissue hoping you'll get to his nose before his sleeve does. Sniffle Buddies are specifically for toddlers to 7-year-olds but work for adults too.
Details: About $10 for two, snifflebuddies.com
What it does: Relieves a constant cough with 100 percent natural organic honey in a soothing drop.
Why buy it: It tastes good and is a natural alternative to cough medications.
Kidz Med Thermofocus 5-in-1 Non-Contact Thermometer
What it does: Takes a child's temperature in less than a second without touching the skin. This one takes readings from the forehead, armpit or navel.
Why buy it: You can take a child's temperature while he's asleep.
Details: About $50 to $70 depending on model; Walmart, kidzmed.com
Gotta Go Mitts
What it does: Protects children who have a tendency to touch everything in germ-infested public restrooms. Made from 100 percent polyethylene material, the disposable waterproof mitts can easily be slipped on when a child uses a public restroom.
Why buy it: Bacteria and other unsavory stuff is lurking everywhere little hands go.
Details: $4 for 20 mitts, gottagomitts.com
What it does: The maker advertises that these are "snot your average wipe" because they contain saline, which helps dissolve mucus. Aloe and chamomile moisturize.
Why buy it: Cleaning up noses is easier; the wipes come in scents such as grape.
Details: $4 for 30-count; drugstores, supermarkets and department stores, boogiewipes.com