Harley A. Rotbart, MD, Professor and Vice Chairman of Pediatrics, University of Colorado School of Medicine and the Children’s Hospital of Denver; author, "Germ Proof Your Kids: The Complete Guide to Protecting (without Overprotecting) Your Family from Infections. "Renee Watson, RN, CIC, Manager, Infection Control and Occupational Health, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. American Academy of Pediatrics: "Recommended Immunization Schedule for Persons Aged 0 Through 18 Years."CDC: "Recommended Adult Immunization Schedule, United States, 2010."
Narrator: It's time for baby to venture out into the big wide world. And while being exposed to new people and places is good for baby, there are also dangers.
Harley A. Rotbart, MD: Getting sick is part of growing up and there is no question, we cannot, should not, protect kids from all germs, from all viruses, even from all infections.What we should try and protect them from are those germs, viruses, infections that will make them more sick than just a runny nose.
Narrator: And from those illnesses that might even be fatal. So what should a parent do?Start with immunizations. Make sure the people who spend time with your baby get a yearly flu shot.
Isadore Rosenfeld, MD: The flu vaccine prevents a viral infection that hospitalizes 200,000 people in this country every year and kills 36,000.
: Stop getting it on my lips.
Narrator: Next, make sure older children and babysitters are up to date on vaccines and boosters for other contagious diseases.
Renee Watson, RN: It's a concept that's called 'herd immunity' in that if the herd is immunized then there's less circulating illness for those who are un-immunized.
Narrator: Between the ages of 7 and 18, children should receive: A Tetanus, Diphtheria and Pertussis vaccine, known as the Tdap; The MMR series to protect against measles, mumps, and rubella;The Hepatitis A and B series; The meningococcal vaccine for bacterial meningitis; As well as a vaccine for chicken pox, pneumonia, and polio;In addition, girls can receive the HPV series to protect against the viruses that cause cervical cancerBut don't forget the adults in your household. Some of these vaccines require a booster once or twice during a lifetime.
Narrator: The next tip is a no brainer…stay away from sick people…but if you can't, remember to clean your hands as often as you can. In fact, do it even when you're not around sickness — it's the most effective preventative there is.
Harley A. Rotbart, MD: You can't hand sanitize after every contact, you can't get to the sink after every contact. But when you are done with a significant number of surface contacts,you are done with the supermarket, you come home from the airport, you've finished at the doctor's office, that's a good time to wash your hands.
Narrator: Your hands are not the only surfaces you should keep clean. At work, sanitize your workstation, phone and any communal area, and ask your kids to do the same.
Harley A. Rotbart, MD: What I teach parents for children of all ages is that sharing is bad.
Narrator: Teens are especially bad at sharing phones and other electronics, passing along nasty germs as well as the laptop, and then bringing them home to baby.Clean common areas in your home as well, especially if someone is sick.And don't forget to gather and wash the sick person's linens separately from the rest of the family laundry using hot water and bleach.
Harley A. Rotbart, MD: Hot water and bleach kill more germs than cool water without bleach, and are recommended for times when there is a sick family member.
Narrator: Last but not least, get plenty of exercise, sleep and reduce your stress. All of those keep your immune system in top share, helping you keep those diseases at bay.For WebMD, I'm Sandee LaMotte.