BOSTON (CBS) – We’re smack dab in the middle of cold and flu season, and if you’re a parent of young kids, chances are you’re drowning in runny noses and wet coughs. But according to a new study from the University of Michigan, at least half of parents turn to unproven methods to try to prevent their little ones from getting sick in the first place.

More than 50 percent of parents say they give their kids over-the-counter vitamins and supplements, like vitamin C, despite the lack of evidence that they help boost the immune system. And more than 70 percent follow so-called “folklore” advice, which is not backed by science. For example, keeping a child from going outside with wet hair.

The good news is that almost all parents say they do encourage strong personal hygiene practices, which have been proven to help prevent the spread of germs, like washing hands frequently, keeping fingers out of the nose and mouth, not sharing utensils or drinks and staying clear of others who are already sick.

Dr. Mallika Marshall

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