NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Coughing, sniffling and sneezing everywhere you turn – it’s signs of a cold, or even worse, the flu.

And with germs everywhere, it is easy to fear you will get infected. CBS2’s Jessica Layton had some ideas Thursday night on how to try to stay healthy.

Widespread and dangerous – that is what doctors are saying about this year’s flu season that has barely peaked.

The virus has already caused the 30 deaths of children across the country.

But at pediatricians’ offices in the Tri-State Area, it is more than influenza keeping doctors like Dr. Rebekka Levis packed with appointments at her office in Westchester County.

“We’re seeing a lot of respiratory illnesses; strep in kids,” said Levis, of Boston Children’s Health Physicians.

When little patients come in with a fever of 100.4 or higher, one of the first things Levis does is make sure the parents know how important it is to keep the kids home from school.

“Before they return back to school, they should be fever free for at least 24 hours,” Levis said. “If they’re not eating or drinking, or vomiting or have diarrhea, they should stay home.”

Carol Barera knows all about it.

“It’s a breeding ground, the schools,” she said.

Barera has worked in schools for years, and when teachers get sick, she tells them not even to think about coming in to work.

“Rather than coming in and exposing everybody, but also for their benefit, stay home,” she said.

But almost every office has that man or woman coughing and sneezing who refuses to stay home when they should clearly be in bed.

When asked why people go to work sick even though they know they shouldn’t, one person responded, “Sometimes the demand of the job, if it’s deadline driven.”

But another said, “I wouldn’t want to be sitting next to somebody that’s going to make me or other people sick.”

Back at the pediatrician’s office, they follow a strict rule for their own employees.

“If you have fever, vomiting, diarrhea, difficulty breathing because of cough — we don’t want you in the office,” Levis said.

In your office, you might want to get into the habit of keeping disinfectant wipes at your desk and wipe down anything you share with other people. Levis said we should be teaching our kids not to touch their faces because that is often how they get infected by those droplets that cause strep and other respiratory issues.

Also, good hand washing for kids and adults cannot be emphasized enough.


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