How to prevent colds and the flu in young children

File photo: Wikimedia Commons

Children across the country are gearing up to head back to school, and for parents, that means its back to germs for millions of kids.

And, according to the Centers for Disease Control, that means children will be getting sick early and often unless you take preventative steps.

On average, the CDC says that elementary school students will contract a cold or the flu eight to 12 times every school year. That number decreases as kids get older, but officials say taking simple actions can drive that number down.

Experts say that kids who get plenty of sleep are less susceptible to contracting colds or the flu because it strengthens the immune system's ability to fight off infection.

The CDC also says kids should be getting plenty of exercise and that, of course, they wash their hands often.