Most parents teach their kids to cover their mouths when they cough, but what do you tell them to cover it with?
Their hands, right?
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that you teach your children 'cough etiquette' when they are sick.
Cough etiquette involves teaching 'your children to turn their heads and cough or sneeze into a disposable tissue or the inside of their elbow if a tissue is unavailable'.
Why is that better than using your hand to cover your mouth when you cough?
Well, if you think about it, you are covering your mouth when you cough to prevent germs from spreading. But if you cough on your hand, you are simply putting the germs on your hand, which will make it likely that you will spread those germs as you touch things, such as a door knob, toy, or other persons hand. And someone else can get sick if they touch one of those contaminated surfaces.
So teach your kids proper cough etiquette when they are sick.
To prevent infections, you should also teach your children and care providers to practice frequent handwashing, especially after using the bathroom (including diaper changes) and before eating.
You should also frequently wash toys and other objects that your children put in their mouth and all other surfaces and dispose of tissues after wiping or blowing your child's nose.
Other tips to help avoid catching infections include avoiding close contact with other people who are sick. Make sure that your day care has a strict policy about excluding children with contagious illnesses. This does not always help though, because most illnesses are contagious for a day or two before you even have symptoms. Once your child develops symptoms, he has probably already infected other people he has been in contact with.