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Germ Warfare: How to Keep Your Kids Healthy

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Surprising Cootie Culprits

Public bathrooms are cleaned fairly often, so while you're wise to use your hip to push open stall doors and paper towels to manage handles and knobs, you're more likely to pick up the sniffles from other places in your daily travels. Pull out your handy antibacterial wipes when you're:

At the grocery store: How often do you think shopping cart handles are cleaned? Now try to imagine the number of people who use them each day while they are handling produce and packages of raw meat.

Using cashier pens: Pens provided to sign credit card purchases are "superb carriers of cold viruses," Dr. Schachter says, as are pens in doctors' offices and at the bank, and those offered by delivery people—so carry your own!

At the ATM and in the elevator: Press all buttons with a finger or knuckle that you're unlikely to use to touch your eyes, nose, or mouth. Better yet, use a key on your key ring or a pen from your bag.

Washing your hands: Unless the liquid hand soap in the public bathroom is in its own sealed bag (chances are it isn't), it's likely a breeding fiesta for bacteria. Rinse well with warm water and use your own hand sanitizer.

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