By Dr. Mallika Marshall

BOSTON (CBS) – Cold and flu season is upon us. So how do we stay healthy with all this coughing and sniffling in our midst? One way is to reduce the spread of germs in the doctor’s office.

Many pediatricians’ waiting rooms have books and toys to occupy our little ones while we’re waiting to see the doctor, but these can harbor germs, especially this time of year.

So the AAP recommends making hand sanitizer and masks available to parents in the doctor’s office, bringing your own books and toys for your child to play with, and keeping your infant or toddler in their stroller until you’re taken to an exam room.

And of course, make sure your kids get all of their recommended vaccines, including the flu shot if they’re over the age of six months. The time to vaccinate against the flu is now.

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