Resolutions for a Germ Proof 2011

January 1 of every year brings more than good wishes and high hopes for the New Year – it also brings the winter cold and respiratory flu seasons, and the winter stomach flu season. These illnesses can be more than nuisances – they cause kids to miss school, adults to miss work, and, in thousands of cases every year, complications that can result in hospitalizations or worse. Although colds, flu, and stomach flu are caused by hundreds of different viruses (and a few bacteria), the strategies for prevention are very simple and work for all of the germy causes of these illnesses. So, without further ado:

Here are my top 10 New Year’s Resolutions for Germ Proofing your family, keyed to Chapters in Germ Proof Your Kids – The Complete Guide to Protecting (without Overprotecting) Your Family from Infections (ASM Press, Washington, D.C, 2008):

1. Teach yourself and your family effective hand washing, including when to use hand santizers (Chapter 9)

2. Teach yourself and your family proper “cough and sneeze” etiquette (Chapter 9)

3. Make sure you and your family are up to date on all of your vaccines, especially flu (Chapter 7)

4. Understand the appropriate and inappropriate uses of antibiotics (Chapter 5)

5. Recognize the places in your home where dangerous germs lurk (Chapter 9)

6. Institute an effective home disinfecting program to minimize the risks of catching germs from household members and the surfaces they have contacted (Chapter 9)

7. Learn what measures your kids’ schools and/or day care centers are using to protect your kids and others (Chapter 9)

8. Feed your family a heatlhy diet that boosts their immunity (Chapter 10)

9. Recognize the difference between prudence and paranoia in protecting your family; remember, overprotecting can be as harmful as underprotecting (Chapter 12)

10. Understand the benefits and the risks of over-the-counter treatments for common infections (Chapter 8 )

My best wishes to you and your family for a happy and HEALTHY New Year!

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