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Children and Colds and Croup

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How Can I Prevent My Children From Catching Colds? continued...

The common cold is also spread by infected objects that are good cold carriers, including door handles, stair railings, books, pens, video game remotes, and a computer keyboard and mouse. The common cold virus can live on objects for several hours, allowing time for your child to touch the object and then rub his or her eyes or nose.

Studies show that proper hand washing does prevent the risk of catching a cold. Teach your child to wash his or her hands after every bathroom trip, before every meal, and after playing at school or at home. The CDC recommends singing "Happy Birthday to You" twice, as that's the length of time it takes (20 seconds) to slough germs off hands while washing hands with warm soapy water.

If your child has a cold, it's still important to protect others from catching the cold. If your child shows cold symptoms, it is wise to keep your child home from school and avoid contact with other children to keep the cold from spreading. You should also encourage your child to cover his or her mouth when sneezing and to use a tissue for nose blowing. If a tissue is unavailable, teach your child to cough in his or her sleeve. Stress to children the importance of hand washing after blowing their nose, coughing, or sneezing to prevent spreading the virus.

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