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Protecting Your Child From Infections

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Basic hygiene at home, day care, or school continued...

Children younger than age 2 need a caregiver's help to prevent the spread of germs. Wash your child's hands frequently, and disinfect shared toys. If your child attends day care, closely review the policies regarding sick children and hygiene issues.

If your child becomes ill, keep him or her out of day care and away from other children until the contagious period has passed. If you are unsure about how long this should be, contact your doctor.

Keep your child away from secondhand smoke. Smoke irritates the mucous membranes in your child's nose, sinuses, and lungs, making infections more likely.

Basic hygiene in other public areas

When in a public area, such as an airport or restaurant, be aware of the risk of exposure to germs that can make you and your child ill.

  • Avoid people with an obvious illness (such as a person who is coughing or sneezing).
  • Don't be afraid to tell others, especially those you don't know, not to touch your child.
  • Do not let your child eat, or touch his or her mouth, eyes, or nose, until his or her hands are thoroughly washed with soap and water.
  • Make sure your utensils, table, and general eating area are clean.
  • If your child is in day care, make sure good hygiene practices are followed. These include regular sanitation of facilities and toys, sanitary food preparation, proper bathroom procedures and cleaning, and procedures for when children become ill.
  • Try to avoid public areas in certain situations. For example, your doctor may recommend keeping your newborn or child with health problems away from large crowds during outbreaks of disease.
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WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: November 26, 2012
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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