Health

Top 8 germiest places in school

Updated 12:26 PM ET, Wed August 3, 2016
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As millions of children head back to school this month, teachers and parents are dreading the "back-to-school plague." Schools are full of hot zones for germs, Dr. Harley Rotbart says. Here are his top eight. AFP/Getty Images
Let's start with the bathroom, which most people assume is a germ haven. Not so, Rotbart says, as most school bathrooms are cleaned regularly. The bathroom door is another story: Not all kids wash their hands like they should, so exiting could be hazardous to your health. Photo Illustration/Thinkstock
Cafeteria trays rarely get wiped off between meals, Rotbart says. With food and a variety of kids touching them, they can be hosts to some serious germs. Rotbart tells kids to use hand sanitizer after they bring their trays to the table. Photo Illustration/Thinkstock
Also dangerous? Sack lunches, which "typically spoil before lunchtime," Rotbart says. Pack food that needs to be refrigerated in an insulated lunch box with frozen blue ice packs, and freeze any juice boxes. Doing so will lower the chance of food-borne illnesses. shutterstock
Students spend most of the day at their desks. That means any sneezes, coughs or ... nasal leakage ends up all over. Students then touch their desktops and take those germs home to Mom. Donna Krache
Most art classes have kids share supplies like paintbrushes, markers and scissors. Students often touch these and then touch their faces or pass them to other kids. Plus, cleaning art supplies is not a top priority for teachers, Rotbart says. MARIO LAPORTA/AFP/Getty Images
Your kids might be passing germs along with those winning touchdowns. Worst of all, Rotbart says, is that football and other sports helmets are a good way to spread lice. Thinkstock
Germs like to play Ring Around the Rosie on the playground. Any microorganisms on kids' hands get spread to the monkey bars, the slide, the teeter totter, etc. where other children can pick them up. Photo Illustration/Thinkstock
If Rotbart had to pick the No. 1 germiest place in schools, it would be the drinking fountain. Kids put their mouths right on the spout, which is disinfected even less than the bathroom door. It helps to teach your children to keep their mouths off the metal and to let the water run for a second before drinking. Penny SPANKIE/AFP/Getty Images