Beating the cooties: Get kids ready for back-to-school germs

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - Parents, you know the drill. After the first week or two of school comes the sniffling, sore throat and fever. Before you know it, the whole family is sick.

Doctors say week three is when they see a surge in office visits. The most common perpetrators - strep throat and the cold.

"At this point they're used to being in summer mode," says Dr. Ronald K. Reynolds with Beach Urgent Care. "They need to re-acclimate to being in school. Making sure they're getting an adequate amount of rest, making sure they're eating properly. All those things come in are very, very important once the school year starts."

According to the CDC, data shows elementary school students get up to 12 colds or cases of the flu each year. To fight the cooties, make sure they're drinking water, taking vitamins and knowing the "hot zones." The germiest place, surprisingly, isn't the bathroom or the computer keyboard, but actually the water fountain.

Dr. Reynolds says while carrying hand sanitizer is good practice, teach your kids to wash their hands early and often.

One preventative trip to the doctor you might want to take, even if your kids isn't sick is the one to get a flu shot.

"The flu vaccines, of course, we like to start giving in September and October. Then we usually start seeing the first few cases of the flu late October into November. Then it usually tends to, in December and January, pretty heavy."

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