Staying healthy when you head back to school: What you need to know

Kids at increased risk of getting sick when they head back to school

MARTINSVILLE, Va. – Going back to school is full of opportunities to learn, have fun and get sick.

"A week or two after school starts, the colds will start and people will start coming in with a lot of strep," Martinsville pediatrician Dr. Mary Beth Noonan said.

She has some recommendations.

"All the children are together, so it's easy to pass illnesses to each other. So, little things like washing hands throughout the day, either cough or sneeze into a tissue and throw it away or cough or sneeze into your elbow," Noonan said.

She also reminds parents to make sure their kids have all of their required booster shots and a meningitis shot.

"Measles, mumps, rubella, varicella, diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus, and their injectable polio," Noonan said, listing the shots kids need. "We offer a menactra that covers for the bacterial strains and that starts at (age) 11. You get a booster at (age) 16, and then at 16 you can also get your meningitis B vaccine."

Cheyenne Foley has a son getting ready to go into preschool.

Staying healthy at school is a big concern.

"I constantly worry about him getting sick from, mainly, the flu because we don't do the flu shot," Foley said.

Foley said she makes sure her kids frequently wash their hands and use hand sanitizer.

"Hand sanitizer is not always so good because it's killing the good germs to fight off the bad germs," Foley said.

Even so, it's still an important part of the fight to keep kids healthy at school.

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