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Top 3 Tips for Keeping Kids Well During Travel continued...

A flu shot provides double benefits. It protects your child and helps cut down on the general level of flu being transmitted.

Practice good hand hygiene. Washing hands often, especially before meals, is the No. 1 way to prevent illness, at home or while traveling. Of course, you should help small children wash hands and teach older kids how to wash them thoroughly. Using warm soap and water, lather up and scrub all over for 20 seconds, then rinse and dry. While you're at it, encourage your kids not to put dirty hands -- or other things -- in their mouth.

Carry an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Children should wash their hands with soap and water when they can, but you should have a sanitizing gel or wipes with at least 60% alcohol available when soap and water aren't. This is especially important in places where it may be difficult to get to a restroom, such as at amusement parks or even on airplanes.

Make sure children rub hand sanitizer all over their hands until dry. If you can see dirt on their hands, however, hand sanitizers won't be enough. Hand sanitizers are dangerous for children if they swallow any, so store them in a bag safely away from small children, and supervise their use.

Germ-Fighting Tips for Airplane Travel

Airplanes have gotten a reputation as flying cold-and- flu factories. But it's actually hard to determine just what role they play in making children, or adults, sick during travel.

Experts agree that when kids have more contact with other people, they're more likely to get sick. But that can happen anywhere there are lots of people -- including malls, restaurants, or rest stops.

Concerns about airplane germs often focus on air quality. A 2008 study of cabin-air bacteria in 12 commercial airplanes showed, though, they do not pose a risk for healthy passengers. And experts say your risk of getting a respiratory infection is higher on a bus or in an airport than on a plane.

A bigger concern, according to some experts, is airplane surfaces. The majority of infections, including respiratory infections, are passed by contact occurring within a very short distance rather than through the air.

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