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Little germ magnets

You may be applying hand sanitizer constantly and drinking Emergen-C every day, but nothing can inoculate you against the germ magnets you love the most: your children.

You may be applying hand sanitizer constantly and drinking Emergen-C every day, but nothing can inoculate you against the germ magnets you love the most: your children. We got some suggestions from the experts on how to keep your kids from spending the winter as cold collectors.

1 Get them vaccinated; this is the first line of defense against the flu. Dr. Bill Schaffner, chair of the Department of Preventative Medicine at Vanderbilt University, says everyone older than six months should be vaccinated each year.

2 Keep your kids hydrated and well rested, says Dr. Schaffner. It will keep their immune system strong.

3 Teach them how to cough and sneeze the right way. “Cough and sneeze into their sleeves — not their hands,” says Dr. Schaffner. “This prevents spraying germs around.”

4 Teach them to be germaphobes. In addition to reminding them that they must wash their hands often, show children how to politely avoid the germs of others. “[Teach them to] turn their heads away when someone else coughs or sneezes around them and avoid taking a breath when someone coughs or sneezes in their face,” advises Dr. Frank Barnhill, family doctor and author of “Mistaken for ADHD.”

5 Teachers on the case: “Get the kids in the class to draw pictures of germs and put these on the refuse cans to remind the kids that germs live there,” advises Dr. Barnhill.

 
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