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How to Keep the Family Free of Germs this Winter Season

It's cold and flu season! Here are some helpful hints on how to keep the sniffles at a minimum this winter.

The shorter days and falling leaves definitley scream out holiday season, but unfortunatley, wintertime hours and weather changes also indicate the start of flu and cold season.

According to WebMd.Com, a cold is a viral infection of the upper respiratory tract. Influenza is a virus that affects the respiratory system. Cold season runs from September to April and the flu season runs from November to April. Children especially suffer when the thermostat drops and the wind blows, as this is the time when flu and cold germs proliferate and spread amongst the inhabitants of the daycare, the preschools, the elementary schools, the school buses and beyond.

Statistics show preschool-aged children have around nine colds per year, kindergartners can have 12 colds per year and adolescents have about seven colds per year.  Symptoms of a cold include a sore throat, mucus and fatigue while flu symptoms include a high fever, chills and shakes and body aches. There are nearly 200 viruses that can cause a cold floating around while the flu can only come from three virus that mutate on a yearly basis.

Sometimes it seems as if every single potential flu and/or cold virus has found a way into the house. As soon as the kiddo is snot free and sleeping happily through the night without a single cough, a new round of symptoms take up residence. In hopes of attempting to keep the home a clean and nearly germ free safety-zone, and, in preparation to take the outside world head on, here are some suggestions to help send the cold and flu season into the wind.

1. Sing Happy Birthday While Washing Up - Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that soap needs to be lathered for up to 20 seconds with warm water and singing the birthday tune twice through will just about take that amount of time. Proper hand washing is the number one most effective way to prevent spread of diseases.

2. Keep Hand Sanitizer at The Ready - If soap and water are not readily available, pocket or handbag sized sanitizers are a great substitute. This is especially handy at school fairs or festivals, where jumpy houses and kiddie trains are loaded with germs. Shops such as , and carry small, easy to pack bottles.

3.  Keep the Sharing at a Minimum - The sharing of eating utensils, pencils, iPods and handheld gaming devices is the perfect opportunity for spreading the flu virus. It’s important to speak with your children who understand the concept of illness and help them see how easy it can be to help keep themselves healthy.

4. Get a flu shot - Almost every pharmacy and doctor’s office in San Rafael has been advertising the flu shot. From to the Marin Community Clinics and Kaiser San Rafael, there are several locations at which a flu shot can be administered.

Here’s hoping for a healthy winter season with sniffles kept at a minimum!

Avi Shenkar October 27, 2011 at 02:54 AM
I recommend using a bacterminator phone cover. They are antibacterial and non toxic for up to 3 years with regular use. I put my phone down on every desk, bar, table top, etc... Who knows what germs are hopping on board and ending up in my child's mouth when he chews on my phone. You can get it at www.bacterminator.com
Gabrielle Cullen October 27, 2011 at 03:15 PM
Thanks for the great tip Avi! Who know what ends up on those phones?

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