Schools can be a 'hot zone' for germs - WGEM.com: Quincy News, Weather, Sports, and Radio

Schools can be a 'hot zone' for germs

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QUINCY, Ill. (WGEM) -

Kids are out of school Monday for the Labor Day Holiday but, on Tuesday they could be walking into a 'hot zone' for germs.

In fact, this time of the year is commonly referred to as the "Back-to-School Plague" and many local parents are already taking to facebook this school year, saying their kids are getting sick.

When you think of the germiest places in schools, a bathroom probably comes to mind but a recent study says school lunch trays have 10 times as many germs as a toilet seat. Also, water fountains are crawling with germs.

Jeannie Martin, nurse supervisor for Quincy Public Schools, says when a large group of kids come together in one place, it's likely germs will be going around.

"Washing your hands, good cough etiquette with covering your cough, coughing into your elbow instead of into hands so that you're not spreading cough germs to doorknobs and desks and those kinds of things," said Martin.

Martin says the most at-risk age group is younger kids because they tend to have habits, such as sticking fingers and objects in their mouths. Children's immune systems are less mature than adults, which also makes them more susceptible to germs.

According to the CDC, on average, elementary school children get eight to 12 colds or cases of the flu each year. For the older kids, it's about half that.

Martin says kids need to stay home if they have a temperature of at least 100 degrees, or if they have vomiting or diarrhea. And, kids needs to be fever free for 24 hours before sending them back to school.

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