TUESDAY, Nov. 23 (HealthDay News) -- There are a number of ways parents can protect their children during flu season, experts say.

The best defense is to get children vaccinated, according to doctors at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center and the American Academy of Pediatrics. They also offered other tips on how to prevent the spread of flu germs:

  • Cough and sneeze into a tissue. If a tissue isn't handy, bend your arm and sneeze or cough into it. Teach your children to do this.
  • Use tissues to wipe runny noses and throw tissues in the garbage after each use. People who are coughing or sneezing frequently should wear a mask.
  • Don't kiss your child on or around the mouth or face if either of you are ill.
  • Always thoroughly wash your hands with soap and warm water before and after coming into close contact with someone with the flu.
  • Don't allow children to share pacifiers, cups, spoons, forks, washcloths or towels. Never share toothbrushes.
  • Use hot, soapy water or the dishwasher to wash dishes and utensils.
  • Flu viruses can live for more than 30 minutes on surfaces. Use soap and hot water or a disinfectant to clean all surfaces, including toys, countertops, toilet handles and doorknobs.
  • Replace cloth towels often and launder them in hot water.
  • Protect children from secondhand smoke, which can increase their risk for respiratory illness.

More information

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more about children and flu.