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Keeping Kids From Getting Sick

Keeping Kids From Getting Sick

Q: Now that my kids are back in school, what’s the best way to protect them from all the colds and flus they will inevitably be exposed to in the classroom?

A: The best answer to this question really takes us back to the basics. You don’t need to spend money on vitamins and “immune boosters.” Teach your children how and when to wash their hands. It’s going to be impossible to keep them from coming in contact with germs in the school environment, but if you can keep the germs off of their hands (and their hands away from their face), you have a pretty good chance of reducing the number of sick days this school year.

While you are imparting this wisdom to your kids, also remind them about covering their mouth when they sneeze or cough. It is best to do this by turning the head into the crook of the elbow rather than using the hand. This will help stop the spread of germs to others in the classroom. If you really want to contribute to the public health, ask the school if you can arrange for a nurse or doctor to come in and talk to the class about these things. If all the kids are taking precautions, you stand a much better chance of success.

Learn more:
The 10 best cold and flu fighters

Dr. Brent Ridge is the health expert for Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia. You can call and ask him a question live every Tuesday at 2 p.m. Eastern on Sirius Satellite Radio, Channel 112 (1.866.675.6675). You can also follow along as he learns to grow his own food and raise goats on his farm in upstate New York by visiting

Got a health question for Dr. Brent? E-mail him at

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Dr. Brent

As an undergraduate, Dr. Brent Ridge majored in public health and environmental science, studying the way the state of the natural environment impacts our health choices. As a physician, he specializes in the field of aging. Send your health questions to Dr. Brent at


+ add your own
3:54AM PDT on Apr 16, 2013


2:42AM PDT on Apr 16, 2013

Latoya, maybe the few germs that remain on the faucet aren't that dangerous? Or are you a strict follower of Michael Jackson's lifestyle?

9:12AM PDT on Apr 15, 2013

I think that all sinks should be like the public ones that have the water go on when you put your hand under the faucet, no handle touching needed.

It doesn't make sense to use your dirty hands to turn on a faucet, wash your hands, and then use your clean hands to turn off the faucet.

10:06PM PDT on Sep 15, 2012


12:42AM PDT on Sep 15, 2012

Thanks for sharing.

5:08AM PDT on Sep 14, 2012


1:51PM PDT on Jun 2, 2012

My advice:
1.) Wash your hands and your child's hands
2.) Try to keep your children from constantly touching their faces
3.) Avoid other sick children - is a good resource
4.) Make sure your kids are getting enough sleep and fluids - keep those immune systems up!

8:14PM PST on Dec 5, 2011


7:41PM PST on Nov 7, 2011

A great reminder. Thanks.

4:36PM PDT on Sep 10, 2011


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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
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