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Germs and your kid – is there anything you can do?

Schools: Are they really the germ-infested nests most parents expect them to be? The short answer is basically yes. Each weekday, 55 million kids and 7 million school staff members enter more than 130,000 different public and private schools throughout the U.S. Those giant bubbles are ripe for flu infestation or just the common cold, especially when you consider that more than 38 million school-aged children miss class each year due to either illness or injury.

This doesn't mean you've got to play over-protective dad and carry wet napkins and sanitizing gel in your back pocket. Kids get sick – it's a pain but it's also a reality. What you can do is reduce the chances that your kid catches anything by teaching him or her some common sense when it comes to germs.

These include the basics: Cover your mouth and nose when you sneeze, wash your hands often, keep away from folks with the flu and stay away from others when you feel sick. Of course, this last one they won't have a problem with. It means they get to stay home from school.

Being a smart dad when it comes to germs is all about one thing: preventative measures. Keep your kid informed, teach good habits and maybe sometimes carry a little bit of sanitizer with you – especially if your kid's got the sniffles.