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Are Concerned Parents Giving Their Kids 'Flu Anxiety'?

NORTH BERGEN, N.J. (CBSNewYork) -- With all of the horrifying stories of children dying due to the flu, parents are rightly concerned.

But are they passing the anxiety on to their kids?

CBS2's Meg Baker found out how to arm your children without scaring them about the dangers.

You can't follow kids to school with a can of Lysol, but parenting expert Tammy Gold said you can arm them with anti-germ tools like hand sanitizer for little ones.

"Say here's little chickie, going to help you stay safe from germs," she said.

If your child seems stressed out about catching the virus at school, they may be reacting to your anxiety. Added stress can lower their immune system.

"You don't want to talk about the news, say oh my god, another kid died today. You want to explain what is happening. A lot of people indoors, and you can't see germs, so it's hard to fight them," Gold said.

Take the fear out of it. Remind kids to wipe down surfaces and wash their hands before eating.

"I always say, do the bottom, top, fingers, watch, put on a bracelet," Gold said.

For peace of mind here's another tip; parents can put a wipe in a plastic bag then stick it in their child's lunch box.

"The flu virus outside of the body is very fragile. It will only survive maybe 24 hours on a hard surface like a desk or a keyboard," CBS2's Dr. Max Gomez explained.

CBS2's Dr. Gomez said kids and adults are contagious for about a day before they start to show symptoms and remain contagious for five to seven days after symptoms are gone. Tamiflu may reduce the contagious period by two days if taken in the first 48 hours.

"If your child has gotten the flu shot, you can breathe somewhat of a sigh of relief. Nothing is 100 percent. They should still practice good hygiene. Make sure you know what to look for," he said.

Parents may also want to donate disinfecting wipes to schools so teachers and students can wipe down door handles, keyboards, desks and lunch tables.

Dr. Max said another way to keep your germs to yourself is etiquette; cough or sneeze into your elbow.

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