“For parents, as this research shows that hands are likely to spread pneumococcus, this may be important when children are in contact with elderly relatives or relatives with reduced immune systems,” said lead researcher Dr Victoria Connor, a clinical research fellow at the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine and Royal Liverpool Hospital.


“In these situations, ensuring good hand hygiene and cleaning of toys or surfaces would likely reduce transmission, and reduce the risk of developing pneumococcal infection such as pneumonia.”


So basically, keeping their hands and toys clean minimizes the risk – which shouldn’t be too tricky to do with some antibacterial wipes or gel.

Dr Connor also said it “might not be realistic” to get kids to stop picking and rubbing their noses completely – but the presence of the bacteria could help “boost the immune system” of children and “reduces the risk” of them getting the disease in later life.

“It is unclear if completely reducing the spread of pneumococcus in children is the best thing,” she added.