"Unfortunately kids are like vectors that have all these bacteria that are all around them and so they just pass it on to other children, and those children pass it on to their parents, and then teachers, and then everybody gets sick," says Nurse Practitioner Susan Lindberg, "so it's very important to keep kids home if they have sniffles, a bad cough, if they have a fever, if they're vomiting or having diarrhea."
Lindberg says there are five main health reasons to keep your children home from school: If they have a cold, stomach flu, ear infection, pink eye or sore throat. Some require doctor's attention, some just require rest, but it's very important they stay home. It's difficult for parents - with work and busy schedules - but necessary.
"Every family should have a plan that if their child is sick either a grandparent, a trusted neighbor, another brother or sister when they're home, should be able to take care of that child when they're sick," she says.
Lindberg says children's immune's system aren't as developed as adults - and their health needs to be taken seriously. Good health starts with clean hands.
"Kids need to wash their hands probably more often than adults do. When you wash your hands sing happy birthday to yourself to make sure you're washing them long enough, rinse them off and make sure that you dry them."
Diet is also important - be careful that your children aren't eating too many fruit roll ups and getting fruits, vegetables, whole grains and protein every day. At least eight hours of sleep is a must - without television distraction - and exercise even in cold weather.
Lindberg suggests, "if possible they should be outside enjoying the weather whether it's cold or warm, but they really should be outside as much as possible. Inside is where a lot of the germs are during the winter and we have our windows closed so if they get out and get fresh air they'll probably be healthier."
While flu season is over in a few months, Lindberg stresses the importance of the flu shot. And remember, as inconvenient as it can be, it's important to keep kids home when they're under the weather.