Reviewed by Louise Chang on April 24, 2010

Sources

National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), Terry McFadden, MD, Emory University, WebMD COLD AND FLU Survival Guide.

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Video Transcript

Narrator: Look at those sweet, kissable faces. It's sometimes hard to remember they're magnets for germs…

Terry McFadden, MD: Any child who has fever or who has diarrhea, or who is sneezing excessively or coughing excessively is a child who is spreading their contagion to other children. So it's really important to keep those children at home even when it's not convenient for families.

Narrator: The first line of defense against colds flus and other contagious diseases is a strong and healthy body. So make sure both you and your child are getting enough sleep, eating healthy foods, exercising on a regular basis and staying current on vaccinations.

Brunilda Nazario, MD: Not all viruses will make you sick. Not each time you touch a contaminated surface will you become sick. It depends on the dose you ingest, it depends on your own defenses…so, there are a lot of variables there.

Narrator: Still, there are a lot of little things you can do to help cut the odds… Teach your child to sneeze or cough into a tissue to reduce the spread of germs by hand-to-hand contact. Make sure they don't share eating utensils or other personal items. And encourage them to wash their ands often and long…singing a song during the process will help. There are also key areas you can target around your home to reduce your risk of spreading an infection: The kitchen is a breeding-ground for germs—especially those nasty kitchen sponges and rags. But don't just launder them—the germs aren't killed by a normal wash cycle. Replace them often or use paper towels or disposable wipes. Next, clean surfaces that people touch a lot—like doorknobs, faucets and countertops. And as always…Wash your hands. Washing up often can go a long way in keeping you from getting sick when your children do bring something home…

Child gets temperature taken: See the number going up?

Narrator: For WebMD, I'm Sandee LaMotte.