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Family Health Author: Staff Editor Last Updated: Nov 29, 2012 - 7:11:02 AM



Protect Your Family During Cold And Flu Season

By Staff Editor
Nov 8, 2012 - 3:16:18 PM



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(HealthNewsDigest.com) - According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nearly 22 million school days are lost annually due to the common cold—but a little care can help you protect your family.

Most parents have faced this difficult scenario at some point: Your child comes home from school with a cold or, worse, the flu. Soon enough, you have it, too. Flash forward two weeks and some form of a cold or the flu has made it through the ranks of your entire family.

While there’s no surefire way to completely prevent these viruses, there are simple solutions to help keep your family healthy during cold and flu season. Here, Kevin Ronneberg, M.D., associate medical director, Target, offers his flu-proof tips:

Get vaccinated. Protect yourself and your family by getting vaccinated. Prevention is the key to staying healthy during cold and flu season.

Disinfect your home. Keep your house clean and germ-free by regularly wiping down surfaces and high hand-traffic areas with a gentle yet effective cleaning solution that’s nontoxic and safe for pets and young children.

Clean up after playtime. Avoid spreading the germs your kids may have picked up while sharing toys by washing their hands immediately following playtime. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

Stay hydrated. Dehydration doesn’t just occur during hot weather. Cold weather and hot and dry buildings promote dehydration, too. Dehydration can leave your body more susceptible to common colds and the flu, so drink up.

Get up and go. During moderate exercise, immune cells circulate more quickly through the body and increase their ability to kill bacteria and viruses. Exercising on a daily basis also builds your immunity over time.

Think twice before you share. Avoid sharing food, drinks, utensils or lip gloss. Germs can easily carry from one person to the other. Even if you feel well, flu symptoms can take one to three days to appear following exposure—you may be spreading illness and not even know it.

Cover up that cough. Help prevent the spread of viruses by teaching your kids to cough or sneeze into the crook of their arm, sleeve or inside of their jacket or sweater.

If you think the flu is something to sneeze at, think again. The flu causes more than 200,000 hospitalizations annually, with more than 20,000 of those being children. Protect your family and get vaccinated this cold and flu season. Flu vaccines are available now at any Target Pharmacy, with no appointment necessary.

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