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Child sneezing

Everyday Steps for Avoiding Cold and Flu

Author: CHKD Medical Group
Published Date: Monday, October 30, 2017

By Dr. Erin Rafferty, Chesapeake Pediatrics

We’re exposed to germs all day, every day. So how can we protect ourselves and our families from getting sick and prevent the spread of germs? These everyday steps can help keep you and your family healthy.

  • When possible, limit or avoid contact with people who are sick.
  • If your child has the flu, try to keep him away from others in the household.
  • Keep sick children home until they have been fever-free for at least 24 hours - without the use of fever-reducing medicine.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with your elbow or a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after use.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand rub. Be sure to wash your hands when returning home from work and encourage your children to wash theirs when they get home from school. Always wash your hands after using the bathroom.
  • Have children change into “play” clothes after returning home from school. To keep germs away, adults who work in the service industry or shared office space should also change clothes when they get home.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Germs are easily spread this way.
  • Get plenty of sleep.  
  • Eat a balanced and healthy diet.
  • Be active every day.
  • Clean and disinfect hard surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with germs, including bathroom and kitchen counters and children’s toys. Clean them by wiping them down with a household disinfectant.

While these steps can help keep you and your family from getting sick, a yearly flu vaccine is the best protection against flu illness.

If you think your child has the flu, call your pediatrician. Since the flu is caused by a virus, antibiotics like penicillin won't help. Children with the flu, especially if they have a chronic underlying condition like asthma, sometimes need prescription antiviral medications.

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About CHKD Medical Group

About CHKD Medical  Group Children’s Hospital of The King’s Daughters has been the region’s most trusted name in pediatric care for more than 50 years. As members of CHKD Health System, our pediatricians work closely with CHKD’s full range of pediatric specialists and surgeons. They also share a commitment to quality, excellence and child-centered care. With 18 practices in 29 locations throughout the region, a CHKD pediatrician is never far.