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All parents worry about their children's exposure to germs during cold and flu season, but a recent survey by the Global Hygiene Council found that only 23 percent of Americans were concerned about their children coming into contact with potentially harmful germs at home. During cold and flu season alone, 59 percent of surfaces in the home can be contaminated with the flu virus, which can survive for more than 48 hours.
Dr. Jim Sears, renowned pediatrician and co-host of the new TV show "The Doctors," has a few simple tips for parents to help them keep their families and homes cold- and flu-free this year.
Healthy Habits Produce Healthy Kids. The best flu prevention strategy is simple regular exercise, sufficient sleep and good nutrition. Help your family maintain a healthy diet, packed with vitamins and nutrients including immune-boosting foods such as fish, citrus fruits and leafy vegetables, to help prevent the onset of illness.
Wash Hands Often and Properly. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), hand washing is the most effective way to stay healthy. Teach your children to wash their hands frequently to help kill the viruses and bacteria they may have collected. Have them use regular soap and warm water to scrub their hands including the back of their hands, in between fingers and under nails for 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based gel if soap and water are not available. Remind your child to sneeze and cough into the crux of their elbow and to keep their hands away from their eyes, nose and mouth.
Disinfect to Protect. Kids can touch and retouch more than 300 surfaces in just 30 minutes. You can help protect family members from picking up and spreading germs with their hands by spraying commonly touched surfaces and objects with a disinfectant such as Lysol® Disinfectant Spray after cleaning. Regular disinfection will help kill cold- and flu-causing viruses and bacteria before anyone in your family gets sick.
Be Prepared to Fight the Flu. Stock up on items such as tissues, vitamin C, throat lozenges, hand sanitizer and disinfectant spray. Keep them in one handy place to make illness prevention even easier.
Consult Your Doctor. Chat with your doctor before cold and flu season begins to determine whether you or your children are candidates for a flu shot. He or she can also recommend appropriate over-the-counter medicines or alternative remedies.