Five easy ways to keep your family virus-free

| 28 Sep 2011 | 02:56

    Cold season can be scary, especially for parents will small children. The U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that 35-50 million Americans are infected with the flu each year between November and March. Children are two to three times more likely to spread the virus. If you’ve got little ones in daycare, and dread spending all of your sick days braving doctor visits and pharmacy lines, you’re not alone. Vicki Lansky, parenting expert and author of “Practical Parenting Tips” (Meadowbrook Press) has some advice for you. Here are five great tips to help keep you and your kids virus-free this cold season: 1. Sanitize toothbrushes. Help prevent colds during the cold-and-flu season by putting all the toothbrushes in the dishwasher every few days. Buy new toothbrushes after an illness. Use disposable cups in the bathroom. 2. Stay Clean. Wash hands frequently, for 20 seconds each time. Children should sing “Happy Birthday” twice in 20 seconds. 3. Wash bedding. When your child is healthy again, wash his or her bedding with hot water. 4. Humidify. If you don’t own a steamer or humidifier, boil water on the stovetop with the lid off or use an electric coffee maker. Just be sure that the hot water is safely away from children. 5. Keep cool. Put a feverish child in a lukewarm tub and let him or her blow bobbles. When the child gets bored, feed him or her a Popsicle right in the tub. There’s no mess, and the fever comes down.