How can I keep my older kids from getting my baby sick this winter?

Q: Last winter, my two preschoolers seemed to pass the same cold back and forth. This year we have a 6-month-old and would really like to keep her illness-free. Is this possible?

A: Viruses only seem to be passed back and forth from one child to the other. The reality is that they are getting different "bugs" each time. Every time a child gets a viral illness, the immune system makes antibodies to prevent its recurrence.

But there are so many different viruses around each winter (the estimate is 200) that one cold seems to follow the other in rapid order; and if you have two or three children of preschool and elementary school age, you rarely have a sniffle/sneeze/cough/diarrhea-free week in winter. This is normal. Rest assured that it does not hurt babies in the long run and actually helps strengthen the immune system.