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How to Keep Your Family Healthy During the Cold/Flu Season


It's the cold and flu season and with the kids back in school there are the runny noses, sneezing, and it seems that when one child gets sick the entire household get sick soon after. We recently got the chance to interview a pediatric expert on ways to keep your family healthy during the cold and flu season. Dr. Tanya Altmann is an LA-based pediatrician and Associate Medical Editor of the American Academy of Pediatric’s Caring For Your Baby and Young Child: Birth to Age 5. She is also the spokesperson for Braun Thermometers and today one lucky reader will get the chance to win the brand new Braun No touch + forehead thermometer.



What's the difference between a cold and the flu?

Patients often come into the office saying they have the flu when really they just have a cold. The symptoms between a cold and flu are different and it’s important to recognize them so you can treat your illness effectively. The flu is much more severe than a cold and it tends to come on more quickly.  Cold symptoms are sore throat, runny nose, congestion, and sneezing and coughing, while the flu usually produces high fever, chills, headaches, body aches and severe fatigue. If you think you or your child has the flu, call your pediatrician.

What tips do you have to prevent either from occurring?

I swear by some tried and true methods of prevention during cold & flu season. One that tops the list is washing hands. Parents should have their kids wash their hands every time they enter or leave the house and before any meal. Germs are everywhere and children will touch anything. Secondly, make sure everyone is getting enough sleep and eating a healthy diet to help keep their immune system strong.

Is it possible to have them both at the same time?

It’s possible to have two illnesses at the same time, especially during cold and flu season where many viruses are circulating. If your child has an illness with a fever, seems to get better and then the fever reoccurs, it’s important to let your pediatrician know. While it may just be that your child caught two different illnesses back to back, it could also be a sign that your child caught a secondary bacterial infection such as pneumonia after having a cold or the flu.

In the event that a family member has either one, what are the ways to prevent it from spreading?

Keeping your home germ free during cold & flu season may sound time consuming. However, there are certain places were germs typically linger that you’ll want to disinfect more regularly. Door knobs, sink handles, light switches and phones are all constantly touched places in your home where germs can be easily spread. Keep a box of disinfecting wipes on your kitchen counter (out of reach of young hands) so you’ll be reminded to clean these areas.

One prevention measure you may not have thought of is maintaining humidity levels in your home. Recent studies have shown that keeping humidity levels between 40 and 60% can reduce the survival of the virus on surfaces and in the air. While humidity levels drop when cold temperatures set in, using a humidifier can help increase the relative humidity, and relieve coughs and congestion at the same time!

What essentials should you have in your medicine cabinet?

Sometimes I’ll have parents tell me they prefer to have their child’s temperature taken in the office because they think our tools are more accurate. However, the new Braun No touch + forehead thermometer takes fast, accurate readings at home by holding the thermometer two inches from the child’s forehead. No touch thermometers measure energy radiated from the forehead above the temporal artery, a major artery of the head. The Braun No touch + forehead thermometer captures twice as much of this energy to ensure you’re getting an accurate reading. Plus, you can also use the traditional touch option on the thermometer to double check your reading if you’re having doubts. I recommend it for parents who are looking to switch to a no touch thermometer but still have some reservations. It’s the easiest way to keep temperature taking as hygienic as possible.


Another essential to have on hand during cold and flu season is a fever reducing medication, such as acetaminophen. Make sure you know the appropriate dose for your child and store the medication up high, out of a child’s reach.

How effective are natural remedies such as Vitamin C for prevention?

Eating a diet full of Vitamin C is important, especially during cold and flu season. It’s always best to get your vitamins through healthy foods such as oranges and Clementine’s – which kids love! Vitamin D has also been shown to help keep the immune system strong and milk and other dairy products are the best source of Vitamin D for kids. In addition, research shows that kids who take daily probiotics have less fever illnesses during winter. If you are considering giving your child a supplement or vitamin, always check with your pediatrician first.

What signs and symptoms should I look out for and when should you consider consulting a doctor?

During cold & flu season, we receive lots of calls from parents who are trying to decide if their child has come down with an illness.  My first question is always how is their child acting?  Behavior is often the best indicator of whether a child needs to be seen right away.

Fever is another important symptom and also often one of the first signs of the flu. When your child has a fever they are often the most contagious. That’s why it’s important to have a reliable thermometer at home like the Braun No touch + forehead thermometer. When it comes to fevers, I’m often more concerned with the length of the fever than how high the number is. I recommend parents take their child to the pediatrician if a fever lasts more than 3-4 days, if the child looks very ill, is unusually lethargic, or has severe aches and pain as it could be a sign of something more serious than a common cold. This excludes newborns and infants; you should always consult your doctor immediately (or seek medical attention right away) when dealing with a newborn or infant with a fever.

Personally I like keeping my kids home when they aren't feeling well, but should you keep your children home when they have a cold or the flu?

When it comes to a cold or the flu, I typically advise parents that if your child is feeling better and their fever has been gone for at least 24 hours, they’re okay to be around other children. While you want to make sure they stay home from school when they’re sick, there’s no need to keep them home for longer than necessary—especially since they will hold on to some symptoms, such as a little cough or runny nose, for days or even a week.


Now that you've gotten some tips on how to keep your family healthy and understanding the difference between the cold and the flu, and also learning what to do if a family member ever has one of them, it's time for our giveaway. The new Braun No touch + forehead thermometer is the latest product to have in your family’s cold & flu arsenal. It offers two non-invasive ways to take a temperature reading, making it easier than ever before without sacrificing accuracy. One mode requires no contact, which means you can hold the thermometer up to 2 inches from the forehead to take a reading. The other requires gentle contact to the forehead in the same location. Either way, you get an accurate in less than two seconds!

So what do you do when you have the cold or the flu?



Disclosure: Growing Up Madison receives products in order to conduct reviews. No monetary compensation was provided unless noted otherwise. All opinions are 100% my own. Some posts may contain affiliate links that I receive commission for payment from in exchange for referrals. In the event of a giveaway, the sponsor is responsible for delivery of the prize, unless otherwise noted in the posting. Giveaways are not sponsored by Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+ or any other social media site. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I personally believe will be a good fit for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

Annmarie John
62 Comments
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62 comments:

  1. It is so hard with the kids in school it seems the germs are everywhere the Braun thermometer is a life saver it is so easy and accurate

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  2. I try and avoid anyone with a runny nose or sneezing. If my niece or nephew is sick I don't visit or have them visit me. I try and avoid anyone sick person like the plague.

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  3. I take cold medicine, drink hot tea, and take a bath with eucalyptus bath salts!

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  4. I make sure to get lots and lots of rest! I also like to stay away from everyone so I don't get anyone else sick!

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  5. When I am around someone that has the cold or flu, I start taking herbs that is suppose to help my body fight infection. Sometimes it works, but with this last flu that went around..... I ended up getting it and I can tell you... I wasn't happy.

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  6. I take Nyquil and drink tea. It is harder when my kiddo is sick because shes young. I do give her tea though she likes it (caffeine free though)

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  7. We have a Braun thermometer. My son can even work it, which can be interesting.

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  8. I want that thermometer so badly! I usually sleep a lot and drink a lot of water when I'm sick. And I get flu shots.
    What a great question about if you can have two viruses at once! I always wonder that.

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  9. I hate cold and flu season! I'm always prepared with plenty of soup recipes and cold medicine though.

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  10. I think our doctor's office uses that thermometer. I just use a digital one at my house and its usually pretty accurate. I have about a million of them from doctor stays. (Each patient gets their own)

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  11. Thank God! I haven't catch the cold or flu and i'm praying everyday that I don't, I am VERY sentitive to how people take care of themselves while sick, I do not want to be around them! Thanks for sharing informative info!

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  12. These are great tips. It used to break my heart when my kids were little and they got sick!

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  13. Lots of great info here in this post! And I LOVE this kind of thermometer! Makes a bad situation much easier, for sure.

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  14. Praise God, I have not been sick in years, even in the wintertime. I drink raw vegetable juice every single day, I also take probiotics which I know is a huge benefactor too.

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  15. I need one of those new thermometers. Those look super nice. Amber N

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  16. We have a forehead thermometer and I love it. It's made it so much easier to figure out if the kids are running a fever.

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  17. We just got this thermometer too but haven't used it yet. Can't wait to try it.

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  18. I huge sanitizer freak. I use it all the time, I carry wipes with me and wipe down surfaces before I touch anything and I never touch my face. I haven't been sick in over 3 years. I'm keeping my fingers crossed I make it through this winter.

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  19. One things is to make sure you wash your hands a lot, it's amazing how many people forget or just don't wash their hands!

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  20. I get lots of fluids and plenty of rest. We try to do natural remedies, so we use a lot of essential oils too to help get us through.

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  21. Awesome tips - as for me, my doctor has banned me drinking hot tea or anything hot - as they say I took too much hot tea that it caused too much heat in my body (or something like that) I would need to stick for luke warm water for now and a lot of it to put it out of my system (also has a relation to my throat or so)

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  22. This looks like a great thermometer, I use more homeopathic items like essential oils, elderberry and silverbotics.

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  23. I drink plenty of fluids and rest. I don't push myself.

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  24. Great post! My kids usually get sick because of school but this year we've been very lucky. I'm the one who seems to catch everything. Lots of rest, fluids and hearty meals keep me going!

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  25. I am really sensitive to a lot of OTC meds so I use a lot of water, Vit C, green tea and essential oils to keep cold and flu and bay. It is hard to do with a husband who works at the hospital and of course kiddo and school germs.

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  26. I sneeze/cough into my elbow/shoulder & wash my hands often to keep the germs at bay! Gotta keep clean :P

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  27. It's been nuts here on and off again colds, we normally never get sick so this year was a dozy . Lots of rest, lots of water, never skip veggies

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  28. These are some great tips. We actually have all been sick in our house the past week. I need to do these things to avoid having that happen again.

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  29. I hate cold and flu season its not often I make it through without getting something, some great tips here though will have to give some of them a whirl! x

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  30. I drink lots of water and try to rest more, and I think I get grumpy, when I get a cold.

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  31. I stay home in bed, drink plenty of fluids, lots of chicken noodle soup and lots of sleep!

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  32. I try to drink as much fluids as possible and rest!

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  33. I drink lots of water and cuddle under the blanket.

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  34. We dry plenty of fluids and get plenty of rest.

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  35. I take lots of Day quilt, have tissues ready and pray it ends soon.

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  36. Drink lots of water and suffer through

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  37. Lots of water, thieves essential oil, and lots of Vitamin C and rest is how we do it! :-) Well, we do use medicine if the doctor says we absolutely need it.

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  38. I try to increase my intake of vitamin C and see my doctor if I suspect the flu. For a simple common cold I drink extra fluids and try "natural" remedies such as honey mixtures.
    nurse_mommy(at)live(dot)com

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  39. I get lots of rest and drink lots of fluids.

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  40. When I have the cold or flu, I take airborne & drink lots of water & orange juice

    Jmatek AT wi DOT rr DOT com

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  41. When I have a cold I drink lots of water and stick it out. I get my flu shot to avoid the flu.

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  42. I drink a lot of hot tea when I have a cold or sore throat.

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  43. My daughter has a bad cold right now! I am thankful that it isn't the flu however. I am keeping her home, medicated, and comfy. Our school has a policy of NO symptoms before coming back to school, so she has been out for 2 days and I'm hoping she will be better by monday :)

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  44. When I'm sick with the cold or flu I take a lot of medications to keep me comfortable, lay on the sofa and sleep.

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  45. Take whatever meds I have available and try to wash my hands more and not breathe near my kiddos

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  46. When I have a cold for the flu, I make sure I stay home and away from as many people as possible. I hate spreading germs. I also am very diligent in washing my hands with an antibacterial soap and add bleach to my dishwasher to kill germs.

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  47. I do not go out! Nor does anyone in my family knowingly take their germs out to work or school. Stay warm, push fluids and take meds to manage the symptoms. The Tamiflu commercials now clearly state that it reduces 'flu' by about 1 day. Always wonder how you can tell if you have a 24 or 48 hr bug and it just was going to go away regardless that you took anything.

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  48. When I have the cold or flu, I sleep it off! Sometimes that's just what I need....more rest!

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  49. I use essential oils to help when I am sick.

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  50. When we have the flu, my family gets lots of rest, orange juice, and we take an extra dose of zinc! Zinc is supposed to boost your immune system, so it helps get over the flu faster!

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  51. when I have the flu, I stay home usually on the couch watching tv & trying to keep fluids down, I tend to get dehydrated when sick.

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  52. My daughter has the most severe form of asthma so we do everything possible to avoid the flu. For colds, my three young children gets lots of rest, warm liquids and lots of cuddles while they recover. I also like to diffuse essential oils.

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  53. I take lots of vitamin C and make sure to take my daily multi vitamin, drink lots of fluids and try to get as much sleep as possible -- not necessarily to get better but to sleep through as much of it as I can. Over the counter medications alleviate the symptoms a little, and I even try to stay positive hoping to boost my white blood cell count and effectiveness at fighting off the virus, but nothing seems to make a real dent in the discomfort and unfortunately it just seems to have to run it’s course.

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  54. I drink tea and take medicine while sleeping or watching tv.

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  55. I usually just stay in bed and take care of myself! I don't go anywhere, I don't go around people (so I don't infect them!).

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  56. Stay hydrated, rest and take over-the-counter medication, as necessary. Also, I try to avoid spreading it to others by hand-washing, avoiding crowds, etc.

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  57. When I'm sick I try to drink plenty of fluids and rest. It's so difficult with a toddler! Sometimes I just have to take some medicine and truck on!

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  58. When I have a cold or the flu, I have to drink lots of fluids and try to sleep. I have a weakened immune system that I catch everything from everyone so if someone is sick around me, I have to leave the area as I generally will be sick for 4-6 weeks.

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  59. I try to get lots of sleep, drink a honey/lemon tea and use a saline spray.

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  60. I drink lots of fluids and rest as much as I can and that usually works

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[name=AnnMarie John] [img=https://3.bp.blogspot.com/-X9gUeVik-ZY/WJjwNTOobII/AAAAAAABTJ4/qEhU0n62_AIo-j6-6LA2OFOr44lKCHASwCLcB/s100/AnnMarie%2BJohn%2BHeadshot.JPG] [description=AnnMarie John is a lifestyle blogger, mom of 4, retired army veteran and a huge Disney lover. Formerly from the beautiful island of St. Vincent and the Grenadines in the Caribbean and now living in colorful Colorado, she loves sharing her opinions on everything, crafting and food.] (facebook=http://www.facebook.com/theannmariejohn) (instagram=http://www.instagram.com/theannmariejohn) (twitter=http://www.twitter.com/theannmariejohn) (pinterest=http://www.pinterest.com/theannmariejohn) (email=mailto:annmarie@annmariejohn.com)

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