Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Tips to Prevent Germs from Spreading continued...

Keep the bathroom hygienic. While germs generally don’t live on towels very long, they can live long enough to make a healthy kid sick. So launder them regularly. You may even want to switch to disposable paper towels for a week to prevent germs from infecting other family members. By the same token, consider replacing the bathroom water glass with disposable paper cups for a while. And get your child a new toothbrush after he's been sick.

Consider a quarantine? Obviously, you can’t imprison a sick toddler in his room until he’s better. But you can try to reduce the contact between your sick kid and your healthy one.

“You can try to separate your kids a bit,” says Altmann. “For instance, you might try to keep them playing in separate rooms more than usual.”

Still, it’s often not feasible and your kids may resist. If that’s the case, don’t worry, says Laura A. Jana, MD, a pediatrician and coauthor of Heading Home with Your Newborn and Food Fights. As long as your kids aren’t getting in each other’s faces -- and everyone’s washing their hands -- it shouldn’t be a big deal. “It’s fine to have your sick child sitting with his siblings in the same room watching a movie,” Jana tells WebMD.

How to Prevent Germs When a Parent Is Sick

What if you or your spouse is the sick one? How can you protect your kids?

  • Focus on washing your hands. Hand washing is the key way to prevent germs from spreading. You should be doing it regularly anyway, but step it up when you’re sick. If you’re laid out on the couch, keep a container of antibacterial gel in your robe pocket and apply it before touching the kids.
  • Dispose of your tissues. Before you had kids, you might have spent sick days on the couch with a pile of used tissues on the floor next to you. That’s not a good idea now. Throw your tissues directly into a trashcan nearby -- preferably one with a lid or one that’s placed off the floor.
  • Keep breastfeeding. Some women worry about breastfeeding when they have a cold or stomach virus -- will it make the baby sick? But experts say that breastfeeding when you have a run-of-the-mill virus is a good idea; in fact, the antibodies you pass on might help protect your baby from getting sick.
  • Avoid preparing food -- if you can. It’s not always an option, but if you can have your spouse, older child, or other family member take over the meal preparations and lunch packing for a few days, it’s a good idea. If you have to prepare meals, just be very careful to wash your hands before and during cooking.
  • Take precautions, but don’t go overboard. Short of leaving the house for a week, how else can you reduce the odds that your kids will get your cold? You can try to make a few minor adjustments to prevent germs from spreading. For instance, you could kiss your kids on their heads rather than their cheeks for a few days. You could ask your spouse to do bedtime stories and baths for a few nights. But obviously, you can’t be so careful in your efforts to prevent germs from spreading that you feel like you’re shunning your kids.

Want More Information on Keeping Your Family Healthy?

Sign up for WedMD's Parenting and Children's health newsletter to get tips and games that inspire healthy habits.

The Nastiest Places Your Kids Will Find

Find the germ traps, both inside and outside your home.
View slideshow