4 ways to protect your family during cold and flu season

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DENVER -- Doctors say now is the time to protect your child from cold and flu season before it hits.  The Centers For Disease Control expects the flu season to begin in the U.S. in December.

Many respiratory infections are already going around.  Medical experts say the first line of defense is a flu shot

Justin Murphy of Guardian Urgent Care says, “It is very important for kids older than 6 months to be vaccinated so for that reason it`s good to go ahead and use whatever options are available.”

One option is the needle-free nasal mist vaccination, which can work more quickly since it attacks the virus where it “lives” in the nasal area.

At home, fight viruses with a power packed diet.  Your arsenal should include plenty of dark green leafy vegetables, fruit, protein and calcium.

Studies show exercise stimulates the immune system.  Make sure your child gets at least 30 minutes of exercise or playtime each day.

Once you make sure your child is eating right and getting enough exercise, you want to make sure they're getting enough rest. Sleep allows the body to repair damage and build its defenses.

Doctors say children between the ages of three and six need 10-12 hours per day.  School aged children and teens need at least 9 hours per night.

There are signs that your  child isn't getting enough sleep.  Dr. Sheila Tsai of National Jewish Health explains, “In adults we might feel sleepy or fall asleep unintentionally but in children they may actually exhibit inactivity.”

Some of us are destined to catch a bug at some point, but putting together a plan now means a better chance of fighting illness in the weeks to come.

See more information about how to prevent the likelihood of developing a cold or the flu.

Learn more about guidelines recommended by the Centers For Disease Control for the amount of sleep required by children of all ages.