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Back-to-school time means back to classrooms, buses and cafeterias filled with germs. According to experts, an average of 10 million bacteria lurk on each school desk surface. With dirty hands sharing scissors, toys and books, one thing is clear–germs are everywhere.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that children miss 22 million days of school each year. And once kids bring germs home, it’s not long before they spread throughout the household. Here are some tips to help keep your kids healthy this school season:

  • Teach kids healthy habits: Teach kids to contain germs by coughing and sneezing into their elbows, not their hands. Be sure they wash their hands with soap and warm water for 30 seconds. You can make it fun by purchasing their favorite soaps and tissue boxes. By practicing these healthy habits at home, they will likely do the same at school.
  • Get healthy amounts of rest: A proper night’s sleep is important for your kids to be fully prepared for every school day. School-age children need between 9 and 12 hours of sleep each night. Not getting enough sleep can reduce the effectiveness of the immune system by up to 50 percent. So it’s important to enforce a strict bedtime routine so that children can relax and fall asleep.

Kids can keep germs at bay by practicing healthy habits, such as washing after they sneeze or use the bathroom, both at home and in school.