My toddler goes to day care. How can I prevent her from getting sick during cold and flu season? Health & Development

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toddlers at preschool
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It can seem like toddlers are sick. All. The. Time. Especially when they're in a childcare or preschool setting and exposed to all those cold and flu germs. And yes, some of it is par for the course, but there are actions you can take that may help you cut down on the number of sick days your family takes this season.

Take Charge

"Do kids at day care get sick more frequently? Yes they do. But they are getting an early start at getting their immune system ready. We do know that children in this age group get between six and 12 upper respiratory infections -- colds -- per season. So if it seems like your kid is sick once a month, we know that to be true.

"To prevent illness, it's incumbent on parents to know what's the infection control plan by the adults. Are the classroom surfaces wiped down with an antibacterial...

"Do kids at day care get sick more frequently? Yes they do. But they are getting an early start at getting their immune system ready. We do know that children in this age group get between six and 12 upper respiratory infections -- colds -- per season. So if it seems like your kid is sick once a month, we know that to be true.

"To prevent illness, it's incumbent on parents to know what's the infection control plan by the adults. Are the classroom surfaces wiped down with an antibacterial substance once a day or twice a day? Can kids go to school if they have a fever? Do they put distance between kids if they're sick? Does the preschool teach kids to cough into their inner elbow? Parents should ask about that.

"You also have to be good stewards to the community and keep your own child home if they're sick. Be patient; understand your child is building immunity. And have confidence that your otherwise healthy, vaccinated child will be healthy in the long run. And understand there will be fewer sick days when they're in middle school." -- Christina Johns, MD, MEd, FAAP, senior medical adviser, PM Pediatrics, Lake Success, NY

Set a Strict Handwashing Policy

"Our rule: Everyone must wash hands upon entering the house!"

Stock Up on Sanitizer

"Bubble wrap -- just kidding! We use lots of hand sanitizer."

Get Flu Shots

"During cold and flu season, we do more handwashing, and eat more fruits and veggies. We get their flu shots, and don't knowingly take them around anyone who may be sick."

Extra Hydration Can't Hurt

"We run a humidifier and use saline nose spray."

Neither Can Essential Oils

"We use immune-boosting essential oils in a diffuser."

The advice on CafeMom aims to educate, inform, and provide a range of solutions to the issues moms care about. It is not a substitute for consultation with a medical professional or treatment for a specific condition. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem without consulting a qualified professional. Please contact your health-care provider with questions and concerns.