While there is no escaping the fact that it’s cold and flu season, the flu can be avoided according to Dr. Cindy Holt, a MEDNAX-affiliated pediatric hospitalist at Sierra Vista Regional Medical Center in San Luis Obispo, Calif. She advocates the flu vaccine and recommends staying clear of big gatherings where others may be infected, like preschools or family gatherings. Since a toddler’s runny nose may be a sign of impending flu, interaction should be limited with infant siblings. When questioning whether it’s necessary to take a sick child to the hospital, she says that a high fever can be treated at home with Tylenol or Motrin. Ultimately though, she recommends trusting your parental instinct. “I always listen to a mom or dad when they say their child isn’t acting like themselves,” Dr. Holt said. “And sure enough, they’re usually right and I find something.”

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