You know how it starts. A cough. A sneeze. A raspy voice in your doorway at 3am that says the sentence every parent dreads hearing: \u201cI don\u2019t feel so good.\u201d It\u2019s that time of year again, and families everywhere are just hoping to survive flu season without going down like a set of bowling pins. From hand sanitizer to face masks, parents are willing to do whatever it takes to avoid contamination \u2014 including staying home in a self-imposed quarantine. It\u2019s a common myth that exposure to cold weather increases your chances of getting sick. In fact, it\u2019s actually the increased and repeated exposure to indoor environments, where bacteria and viruses can incubate and thrive, that can increase the likelihood of catching and spreading an illness. As such, the best way to make sure your family stays healthy during flu season isn\u2019t to stay on the couch, but to continue doing the things they love \u2014 as long as they take just a few extra steps of protection. Dress for success We spoke to pediatricians with ProHealth Physicians, Dr. Christopher McDermott and Dr. Susan Lelko, to learn more about how families can stay healthy during flu season without going into hibernation. Making sure your family is ready to take on the harshest New England winters starts with making sure the kids \u2014 especially those who can\u2019t communicate how they\u2019re feeling \u2014 are dressed properly for the weather. \u201cA good rule of thumb for babies is to dress them in one more layer of clothing than an adult would wear in the same conditions,\u201d McDermott explained. \u201cIf you have a hat and coat on, your baby would need a hat, coat, and blanket.\u201d Get moving Unless you\u2019re going somewhere within walking distance, there\u2019s one thing that stands between your appropriately dressed kid and the outside world during winter: The car. McDermott noted that parents can also put a blanket over the straps, as long as they\u2019re sure to leave the baby\u2019s face uncovered to avoid trapped air and re-breathing. McDermott had another winter car seat tip \u2014 to store the carrier portion inside the house when not using it. \u201cKeeping the carrier warm will reduce heat loss when you put the baby in it,\u201d. He also suggested that \u2014 as with most things in winter \u2014 parents should always leave themselves a little extra time for getting on the road. Between missing mittens and untied snow boots, it can take even longer than usual to get the kids packed up, and the last thing you want to do while driving in bad weather is to rush. Set limits Once you\u2019ve made it to your destination, don\u2019t be afraid to set some boundaries with friends and family who want to see the baby. \u201cAnyone who wants to touch or hold your baby should wash his or her hands,\u201d said McDermott, adding that parents should carry hand sanitizer in case a sink is not available. As for illnesses spread by mouth, parents should try to limit the contact others have with the baby\u2019s head and face. Never be afraid to ask people if they are sick, or to reschedule visits if they are. Parents should also encourage all family members who care for the children to be fully immunized, including the flu shot. Know fevers Of course, it\u2019s called flu season for a reason, and the flu can still make its way into even the most careful households. When it does, it\u2019s important for parents not to panic \u2014 and to know what to look for in keeping their child safe and comfortable. This is especially important for fevers, which can be frightening and cryptic for parents trying to keep their children healthy. \u201cFever is your body\u2019s response to infection,\u201d Lelko indicated that any temperature 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit or greater is considered a fever. To make sure you\u2019re getting the most accurate reading, temperatures should be taken rectally for children three years and younger and orally for children four years or older; axillary, or under the arm, readers are less reliable. Instead, you should dress them in light clothing and encourage them to drink fluids. If the child is uncomfortable or if the fever persists, Lelko recommends over-the-counter medications Tylenol and Motrin, but never Asprin. When it comes to dosing, Motrin should only be given to children six months or older, and dosing for a child under two years old should be recommended by their doctor. For older children, the dosing is right on the package. Call the doctor When should parents be concerned about a fever? The doctor should be called for any infant less than three months old with a fever of 100.4 degrees or greater, or a child of any age with a fever of 104 or greater. \u201cYour doctor would also like to hear from you if your child has a stiff neck, severe headache, severe sore throat, severe ear pain, rash, or repeated vomiting or diarrhea,\u201d McDermott added. Most importantly, McDermott and other doctors want parents to trust their instincts. \u201cIf you are concerned and feel you need to call, you should.\u201d After all, parents are the ones who know their children best. You should also call your pediatrician \u201cIf your child looks very ill, is unusually drowsy, or is very fussy, then you should give your doctor a call,\u201d said McDermott. If you suspect your child might be dehydrated, with symptoms including dry mouth, light diapers, sunken soft spots, and refusing liquids, please also give us a call. When it comes to your child you are the expert, trust your instincts. Winter may mean cold and flu season \u2014 but if you\u2019re prepared, it doesn\u2019t have to mean missing out on all the things your family loves to do. Gone are the days of staying home to stay healthy \u2014 with these tips, parents everywhere can stop spending their winters indoors, and start living their best lives. After all, parents are the ones who know their children best. Winter may mean cold and flu season \u2014 but if you\u2019re prepared, it doesn\u2019t have to mean missing out on all the things your family loves to do. Gone are the days of staying home to stay healthy \u2014 with these tips, parents everywhere can stop spending their winters indoors, and start living their best lives. ProHealth Physicians The pediatrician you choose will come to know you and your family. It is important that you feel you can trust them; in the first year alone, you will see your pediatrician for at least six wellness checkups, plus any unplanned sick visits. You also want your child to feel comfortable with your choice as they grow up. Taking ProHealth Physicians\u2019 tips into account can assist you in this major but exciting step. For more information, visit our website and start your search today for the pediatrician or family physician that\u2019s right for you. ProHealth Physicians has been helping parents raise healthy children for more than 20 years and is trusted with the care of over 90,000 children in Connecticut. ProHealth offers a comprehensive network of pediatricians, family physicians, nurse practitioners and physicians assistants, all of whom follow the guidelines of the American Academy of Pediatrics. With convenient locations in communities statewide near home, work and daycare, finding a care team who best fits your needs is made easy.