Skip to content
This content is selected and controlled by WebMD's editorial staff and is brought to you by Reckitt Benckiser.

Maybe your daughter got off the bus looking pale and feverish. Or maybe you feel a scratchy throat and a stuffy nose coming on. Whatever the symptoms, you expect a lot of sniffles and coughs this week.

Before the virus knocks you and your family out, try these tips to prepare for colds and flu. If you're lucky, they may also prevent at least some of your family from getting sick.

  • Stock up on supplies. Be ready before cold and flu season starts. Load up on tissues, hand soap, hand sanitizer, and paper towels. Consider picking up a few distractions in case your kids get sick, like puzzles, coloring books, or DVDs.
  • Check your medicine cabinet. Make sure it contains pain relievers, fever reducers, and any other medications you use when your family is fighting colds or flu, like decongestants or cough syrups. Test your thermometer to make sure the batteries still work. Clean your humidifier.
  • Be strict about washing hands. Germy hands spread colds and the flu. Tell your family to scrub their hands well with soap for 20 seconds. Tell kids to wash for as long as it takes to sing "Happy Birthday" twice. Make sure you do it, too!
  • Set up sanitizer stations. Put a bottle of hand sanitizer in every room. Make sure it's at least 60% alcohol. Use a squirt as you pass by -- and get everyone else to do the same.
  • Plan for sick days. You may need some days off. Even if you don't get sick, you may need to take care of your sick kids. Start thinking about it now: What's your office policy for sick days? Will you have to take unpaid days off?
  • Line up support. You may need outside help. See if any family members can watch the kids if they're home sick from school. Or ask a neighbor if they can take the kids to soccer and dance if you're laid up in bed.
  • Disinfect. You don't need to spend all day spraying every surface with disinfectant. You may just want to disinfect some heavily touched items -- like doorknobs, remote controls, and phones -- each day.
  • Switch to paper goods. If everyone's sick, use paper towels instead of hand towels in the bathroom. Switch out glasses for paper cups, and toss them after one use. You'll be less likely to swap germs.
  • Fill the fridge and pantry. Stock up on some easy-to-make foods for lunches and dinners, in case you need a few days to rest and recover without cooking. Have some favorite drinks and snacks on hand for your kids. Include some (healthy) comfort foods like chicken soup and PB&J.
  • Rest. Whether you're trying to recover from a cold or flu, or trying to avoid it, get plenty of sleep. Get your kids to bed on time, too.
  • Get your flu shot. One of the best ways to help keep the flu away from your house is to make sure your whole family gets vaccinated. It can save your+ household a lot of sick days and misery.

 

Mucinex

Mucinex® Provides All
Day Congestion Relief

One mucus busting pill. All
day chest congestion relief.
Only Mucinex® has a unique
bi-layer tablet that starts right
away and keeps working for
12 full hours.

Mucinex Fast Max Night Time

Mucinex® Fast-Max®
Night Time Cold &
Flu Relief

Mucinex® Fast-Max®Night
Time. Multi-symptom relief
plus a nasal decongestant.
Breathe easy. Sleep easy.

Previous Slide Next Slide
close

From Our Sponsor

Content under this heading is from or created on behalf of the named sponsor. This content is not subject to the WebMD Editorial Policy and is not reviewed by the WebMD Editorial department for accuracy, objectivity or balance.

All About the Flu

How long you're contagious and other flu facts.

View More

Is it a cold or the flu?

Test your knowledge.

View More

WebMD Answers to Top Cold and Flu Questions

  • Can I do anything to make my cold go away faster?

    While there's no cure for a cold, there are definitely things you can do to help your body beat a cold virus faster...More

  • What causes a common cold?

    The rhinovirus (or other cold virus) enters your body through your nose or mouth and is easily spread...More

  • Can a cold develop into flu?

    The cold and the flu are caused by different viruses. So a cold can't turn into the flu, but...More

close

From Our Sponsor

Content under this heading is from or created on behalf of the named sponsor. This content is not subject to the WebMD Editorial Policy and is not reviewed by the WebMD Editorial department for accuracy, objectivity or balance.