3 Use alcohol-based hand sanitizers
Carrying these around not only makes it convenient to keep hands clean, but sanitizers also don’t dry out hands like frequent latherings with soap and water, according to Mark Moyad M.D., M.P.H., director of Preventative and Alternative Medicine at the University of Michigan Medical Center. Look for brands that have at least 62 percent alcohol.
4 Avoid unnecessary antibiotics
You know those antibiotics that you coax your pediatrician to prescribe for your kid’s case of the sniffles? Well, they can backfire. “Sixty-five percent of your body’s immune-fighting cells are in your gut, and unfortunately antibiotics wash out the normal immune components of the gut, which means they destroy all these good cells along with the bad bacteria,” says Ditchek.
5 Try saline nasal washes
Spritzing your kid’s nostrils twice a day helps wash out the nasal passage, preventing any type of virus from setting up shop there for any length of time. Look for washes with metered pumps. Don’t bother with sinus washes like Neti pots—the saline nose sprays work just as well and are much easier to use. But also try to get your children to gargle once or twice a day with plain water—research shows it also helps reduce the risk of respiratory infections by flushing out any bacteria or viruses lurking in the throat.