Atlanta, Georgia -
The new school year is fast approaching and with it, all the familiar illness-causing germs. So what can parents, teachers, and kids do to keep the flu and other bugs at bay?
It's referred to informally among teachers and parents as the "back-to-school" plague. When the classroom at the start of a new school year is a hot zone for germs
The Centers for Disease Control says that on average, elementary school students get eight to twelve colds or cases of the flu each year.
So teach your kids healthy habits as they head back to school.
First, know the hot zones. The germiest place at school isn't the bathroom, it's actually the water fountain. Teach kids to run the water first then drink or to bring their own water bottle.
Next, experts say antibacterial hand sanitizer is good but hand washing is best.
A study at the University of Georgia found that only 28-percent of children know how to wash their hands correctly. The rule of thumb -- use hot water, soap, and wash long enough to sing "happy birthday" twice.
Then it's about keeping their immune system up to give them a fighting chance against these common illnesses. Make sure they get enough sleep. School age kids need 10-11 hours a night. And exercise at least 40 minutes a day and eat a healthy diet rich in Vitamin C.
There are so many germs and so many little hands touching everything in sight. One expert called schools a "germ candy store", so here's hoping you can keep your kid healthy and out of the doctors office this school year.