CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- It's inevitable. Youngsters bring more than just school work back home and that means sick days from school and work.

  • Hand washing is a good defense mechanism
  • Another mechanism is getting enough sleep 
  • The common cold is responsible for some 22 million lost school days across the country

"Colds are starting a little bit,” said Dr. Andy Gunter with Cotswold Pediatrics. “Kids start to share drinks and then when they share, it's about that time for strep."

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say children catch about six to ten colds a year. They add the common cold is responsible for some 22 million lost school days across the country.

“Kids who start to daycare for the first time, parents are getting exposed to some viruses their bodies haven't seen in some time,” said Dr. Ryan Shelton of Tryon Medical Partners.

While hand washing is a good defense mechanism, there are some other factors that lead to calling out. Not enough hitting the hay early enough is one of them. Elementary school kids need 9 to 12 hours of sleep, high school eight to 10 hours.

"Think of the kids who need the most sleep. It's those high schoolers, but they tend to get the least. You get tired, you get down, immune system starts to drop a bit," Gunter said.

Although districts like Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools are investing more in mental health counselors, a sick day for anxiety, depression and the like isn't uncommon.

“We screen kids starting as young as age six now,” said Gunter. “Middle schoolers say, 'Yeah I've been getting bullied but I didn't know how to talk about it.' Bring those topics up with your kids."

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