How many times will your child get sick this school year?

CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - Don't expect your child to have perfect attendance this school year. According to Dr. Lolita McDavid at Rainbow Babies and Children's Hospital, kids will get the common cold five to eight times this year.

The common cold is called that for a reason. There are 300 different viruses that cause it and little ones are also at high risk for picking up other common back to school bugs.

"When kids first start child care or preschool, we expect them to have four to six illnesses a year," said McDavid.

Those children are often encountering viruses for the first time, so their immune systems aren't able to kill them off as quickly.

Typically colds last six to 14 days.

"They're most contagious during the first three days of symptoms, but you can still catch a cold from someone who's had it for two weeks," said David Jaffe, M.D. Director of Emergency Medicine at St. Louis Children's Hospital.

Half of children with a cold have a temperature between 101 and 103 degrees for the first two or three days. Parents are advised to call your pediatrician if the fever lasts longer.

McDavid says kids can be treated at home, and still attend school, if they maintain proper hand washing.

It should come as no surprise that good, frequent hand washing is key to keeping germs at bay. McDavid suggests finding a hand washing song.

"Figure out the song that your kid likes the best. Time it and try to make it 30 seconds and have them wash their hands while they're singing it. My wash my hands song is Bruno Mars 'Uptown Funk'," she said.

She says don't stop there -- also use hand sanitizers.

Studies show kids who use it have 50 percent fewer infections than those who just wash their hands. And keep fingernails clipped so that there are fewer places for germs to hide.

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