How to help your kids avoid the ‘back-to-school plague’

Posted at 11:32 AM, Aug 15, 2014
and last updated 2014-08-15 13:50:23-04

ATLANTA – As students head back to school, experts say parents need to be reminded the classroom at the start of a new school year can be a hot zone for germs.

It’s referred to informally among teachers and parents as the “back-to-school plague.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on average, elementary school students get eight to 12 colds or cases of the flu each year.

So, what can parents, teachers and kids do to keep the flu and other bugs at bay?

Experts said teach your kids healthy habits as they head back to school.

First, know the hot zones, the most germ-infested 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 correctly wash their hands.

The rule of thumb is 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.

Experts say school age kids need 10 to 11 hours a night.

It’s also recommended kids exercise at least 40 minutes a day and eat a healthy diet rich in Vitamin C.

One expert called schools a ‘germ candy store’ because there are so many germs and so many little hands touching everything in sight.

Health experts hope parents and kids follow the tips mentioned above to help keep kids healthy and out of the doctor’s office this school year.