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Q: Can I help prevent the spread of germs and disease?

Posted September 18, 2013 in Advice Column, Ankeny

A: Yes. Below is a list of things you can do to help your family be healthier during cold and flu season.

Clean your hands often. Keeping every family member’s hands washed and clean is one of the best ways to keep from getting sick and spreading illnesses.

Regularly clean and disinfect home surfaces. Cleaning with soap, water and scrubbing removes dirt and most germs. However, using a disinfecting cleaner actually kills germs, giving even better protection.

Handle and prepare foods safely. Clean hands and surfaces where food has been and separate foods so you don’t cross-contaminate them. Cook foods at the right temperature. Refrigerate foods promptly.

Keep all family members up-to-date with recommended immunizations. Visit the Centers for Disease Control website at: for a list of recommended immunizations for every age.

Use antibiotics correctly. Antibiotics do not work for viruses like colds and flu. Taking unnecessary antibiotics can be harmful. Antibiotics should only be taken when prescribed by your physician and exactly as directed.

Be careful with pets. Always watch small children around pets and make sure your pet sees a veterinarian regularly to keep them healthy. Teach your family members to wash hands after touching pets and animals.

Information provided by Jennifer Meurer, Pharm.D., Medicap Pharmacy, 107 N.E. Delaware, Suite 6, 964-8550.

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