By Lindsay Ward

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Every parent knows that when they send their child off to school or daycare, there is a chance they can come home sick.

But having a sick child at home doesn’t necessarily mean the entire family should end up sick as well.

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According to Frank Esper, M.D., of Cleveland Clinic Children’s, the best way to keep a virus from spreading is through good hand-washing.

Esper does admit that it gets difficult when you are caring for a sick child.

One way to help keep things from spreading around the house is to designate one caregiver.

“If there is one caregiver in the house, make sure that’s the caregiver and that’s the main caregiver for this child, rather than every hour it’s someone new,” said Dr. Esper.

“Because then you’re just exposing more and more individuals.”

When children who are older get sick, the best thing one can do is have them stay in their rooms.

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This helps the virus from spreading around the house and to the rest of the family.

“It’s very good, if you have a large family, to keep older children and teens confined to one area of the house, maybe one floor of the house, instead of letting them all over the place with everybody else,” said Dr. Esper.

When the children are sick, it’s also a good idea to have them use their own utensils, and make sure that they don’t share cups or drinks.

Dr. Esper said putting reminders around the house, like a bottle of hand sanitizer right in the kitchen, can be helpful to make sure family members are staying up to par on hand-washing.

“I would definitely have one in the kitchen, at the dining room table, or in the living room by the TV- even propped up there on the couch, to make sure that they have easy and quick access,” he said.

“The best thing to do is to wash your hands, multiple times during the day.”

Dr. Esper said most viruses like to live on our hands, but some can live on surfaces for an hour or longer.

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He recommends cleaning contaminated surfaces with soap or bleach, which will eliminate the virus on contact.