SLINGERLANDS, N.Y. -- Keeping children healthy is a huge concern for parents as they get ready to send their kids back to school.
With the start of flu season in October, germs will inevitably be all around.
"It's almost like you get a nice little honeymoon period, a couple of weeks," says Dr. Michael Looney. "Everybody is happy, they're trying to figure out what everyone is doing in school and then you get a big run of strep throat."
Dr. Looney has been a pediatrician for 24 years, currently practicing at Delmar Pediatrics in Slingerlands. He says parents and their children are about to enter that honeymoon period of sick-free classrooms and households, but it inevitably will end.
"The only way you can do it is put your kid in a bubble," says Dr. Looney.
So since living in a bubble is unrealistic, Dr. Looney says there a few things parents can do to help safeguard against sickness, like making sure your child eats breakfast and is getting enough sleep and exercise. He also says hand sanitizer is not a replacement for washing your hands with soap and water.
"That doesn't get the dirt off, imagine taking your four year old inside and saying, hey, put some purell on your hands, they're still covered with muck, so soap and water is also important with that."
But is there such a thing as being too clean? Dr. Looney says yes, within reason.
"You don't want to be OCD about the whole thing, because you're going to have germs on your skin no matter what you do," he says. "You want to have the typical ordinary germs, you don't want to get rid of all of these and have just your worst case germs growing."
Dr. Looney says it's hard to predict the type of sickness that will be trending in schools and daycares until it breaks out. Right now he says we are in flu prevention season, the actual season begins in October.