(CNN) – School is back in session and for a lot of parents that means more visits to the doctor. Schools are a breeding ground for germs. Elementary-aged children contract a cold or the flu an average of eight to 12 times per school year, according to the centers for disease control and prevention.
Some of the worst “hot zones” for germs are water fountains. They are germier than toilet seats, and don’t get disinfected as often.
Cafeteria trays also breed germs, they’re not always wiped between meals and food often comes into direct contact. Anything shared among students, desks, art supplies, sports equipment, spreads germs.
But there are a few things parents can do to stave off disease. Make sure children get enough rest – sleep deprivation lowers the immune system’s ability to fight off infection.
A good diet and exercise also help ward off disease. Hand-washing, using soap and water is the most effective way to eliminate germs.