This is the #1 thing your kids shouldn't touch at the pediatrician's office

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) is out with new recommendations for preventing the spread of illness when you bring your children to the pediatrician.

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The yuck factor is high in the waiting room

In an October 23 post, AAP reiterates its call for strict infection control in all outpatient facilities and doctor's offices that cater to kids.

One particular problem area that needs special attention should come as no surprise to anyone: The toy area in your pediatrician’s waiting room.

Those toys, books and video game systems are major source of disease transmission.

"Pathogenic bacteria have been recovered from toys in ambulatory waiting areas, and contaminated toys used for water play have been implicated in an outbreak of P. aeruginosa infection in a hospital," researchers write in a paper presented before the AAP.

So what’s a parent to do?

The AAP recommends bringing a child’s personal books or toys to occupy them so they don’t have to touch things in the shared play area.

But there is one big no-no when it comes to selecting a toy to bring: Skip the stuffed or plush animals.

Toys should be disposable or washable, according to the AAP — not furry or plush. That’s because it’s much more difficult to clean the latter kind of toy effectively.

Meanwhile, if a toy claims it’s made to be antibacterial, don’t believe the hype.

“The value of antibacterial agents incorporated within toys is unproven,” the AAP notes.

The new recommendations call for pediatrician’s offices to ideally clean all shared toys between uses. But the AAP concedes that a daily cleaning at the end of the day is acceptable, too. A freshly prepared cleaning solution made of bleach diluted with water to a 1:100 strength is preferable.

Get paid to get a flu shot

Finally, if you’re interested in getting yourself or your child a flu shot this season, a couple of retailers offer free gift cards when to do so.

CVS is offering a $5 off coupon on non-pharmacy purchases with a minimum purchase of $25.

And if you live in a territory serviced by Southeast regional grocer Publix, they're offering a free $10 gift card when you get your flu shot.

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