Winter Cold Survival Guide

7 Healthy Habits

  1. DO limit your child's exposure to sick people. Reschedule a playdate if you know there's a sibling home sick. If you have to be around people who are ill, teach your child to keep her hands away from her eyes and nose -- entryways for cold germs.
  2. DON'T teach him to sneeze or cough into his hand. Unless he washes his hands pronto, he'll contaminate anything he touches. If he can't grab a tissue in time, he should
    sneeze into his upper arm or elbow.
  3. DO toss tissues promptly. They can harbor plenty of nasty germs.
  4. DON'T overlook toothbrushes. They're a great place for viruses to multiply. "In many bathrooms, they're all touching one another, passing germs back and forth," says Ellen Schumann, MD, a pediatrician at the Marshfield Clinic, in Weston, Wisconsin. "I change my sons' toothbrushes about once a month. If one child has been sick, I'll toss his toothbrush as soon as he's feeling better."
  5. DO use your dishwasher's sanitizing cycle, if it has one. "The sanitizing cycle keeps the water hotter for longer and disinfects dishes better," says Dr. Schumann.
  6. DON'T rely on supplements. There's been a lot of buzz
    about using zinc, vitamin C, and echinacea to treat colds, but there's no good evidence that any of these supplements are very effective.
  7. DO keep hands clean. Hand-washing is the number-one germ buster. Lather up your child's hands and rub them together for 20 seconds (sing "Happy Birthday" twice); then rinse with warm water.

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