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Winter brings colds, runny noses, sneezes and coughs. Too few layers
outside, lots of clothing for inside, too much heat on in the room and insufficient warmth all raise the chance of becoming chilled and catching a bug! Stress, lack of sleep, holiday overindulgence and viral exposure may increase the odds that a cold will develop. While it may not be possible to live in a sterile environment, there are ways to minimize the damage and not further the virus chain!

An EtiKids favorite, Because a Little Bug Went Ka-Choo! by Rosetta Stone is a reminder of how easily something as small as the sneeze of an insect can have a greater impact. “You may not believe it, but here’s how it happened. One fine summer morning… a little bug sneezed…..”

There is no need to pass along the germs that can cause a cold or worse yet, the flu. The Center for Disease Control highlights the importance of making sure the mouth and nose are covered when sneezing or coughing so infectious droplets stay clear of the mouths or noses of nearby people. To lessen the chances of becoming sick or passing an illness on to someone else, the following suggestions can be added to your list of good health manners to remember:

1. Throw used tissues into the garbage, safely out of reach of an innocent passerby.
Keep soiled tissues off the counter, desk or any other surface readily accessible and easily contaminated.

2. Use an upper sleeve or elbow when tissues are unavailable. EtiKids teaches children to cough or sneeze into their sleeve. A CDC publication states, “Germs are often spread when a person touches something that is contaminated with germs and then touches his or her eyes, nose, or mouth”.

3. Wash hands often. Use soap and water to wash hands vigorously for at least 20
seconds. Sing the alphabet or birthday song to estimate the time. Hand sanitizers are a
handy substitute in the absence of soap and water.

4. Don’t share if you care! Like a secret, personal items like a toothbrush, glass or eating utensils are best kept to oneself.

5. Stay home. The easiest way to transmit a cold is close contact with others such as at work or in school.

Winter time keeps more people indoors in closer contact. Be vigilant and mindful of
others with lower levels of resistance. Social skills includes good health habits too! Be cheerful and stay healthy!