Be Vigilant for the First 48 Hours
A cold is most contagious for one or two days after symptoms appear. At the first sign of a runny nose, put forth extra effort to keep the virus from spreading. Clean even more frequently. Consider using disposable paper towels for drying hands. And when it comes to getting the kids to wash their hands, nag like you've never nagged before.
Taking these steps can reduce your family's exposure to cold and flu viruses, and it's a battle worth fighting. In addition to the obvious discomfort, even a common cold can sometimes lead to ear infections, sinus infections, and other complications. It's important to note, however, that everybody gets sick sometimes, no matter how often they wash their hands. "Most kids get five to seven colds a year," notes Dr. Karron. "Despite your best efforts, some of these infections are inevitable."