Confined spaces are a haven for germs. And during the winter season, close contact with a number of people makes it nearly impossible to not catch a cold or flu.
While there are no proven methods of cold or flu prevention, according to Dr. Robert M. Blum of Southfield Pediatrics, there are some things you and your family can do to reduce your chances of getting a cold or flu.
“It is really recommended that every child gets the flu vaccine,” Dr. Blum says.
Children under 2-years-old are at a higher risk of developing flu-related complications – or worse, death – so it’s essential to get them vaccinated.
However, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the flu vaccine is not approved for children younger than 6 months of age.
With infants, breastfeeding is one way to prevent them from getting sick.
“By breastfeeding, the infant will continue to receive immunity from the mother and will reduce the frequency and severity of common viruses for the time the breastfeeding continues,” Dr. Blum says.
He also urges parents to avoid using day care, if possible, during their child’s first winter. Germs spread through day cares due to uncovered coughs and touching.
And remember, cold and flu germs spread through contact, so "lots of hand washing makes a big difference," Dr. Blum says.
In addition, “making sure that you have an adequate level of Vitamin D,” is an important part of staying healthy, he says.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends people get 400 international units (IU) of vitamin D daily.
Get it through milk and Vitamin-D rich foods, sunshine and supplements.
And while Dr. Blum stresses that there are no proven ways to avoid the cold and flu, he does give a few additional tips for minimizing the chances of getting sick: Maintain a healthy diet, get plenty of rest, keep stress level to a minimum and exercise.