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How to fight back against those back-to-school germs

According to the CDC, elementary school children catch 8 to 12 flu-related cases each school year, and older kids catch about half of that (KTUL).

Schools are clean and ready for the first day, but there are hidden dangers you can't see: germs.

Timber Ridge Elementary is new to Broken Arrow and from the naked eye, everything looks spotless.

But it actually takes a lot of hard work to keep bacteria and viruses from spreading -- hard work that starts even before teachers can decorate their classrooms.

"Our crews are working hard through the summer," said Director of Public Relations for Broken Arrow Public Schools, Charlie Hannema. "They're taking all the furniture out, they're shampooing carpets. Everything is wiped down and across the district."

The custodians spend countless hours disinfecting everything every night with products designed to kill bacteria.

"We have a new device that basically takes electricity and shoots it through water," said Hannema. "It's a more powerful and efficient cleaner that uses less chemicals."

But once students are back, experts say kids can carry bacteria and transmit viruses easily.

According to the CDC, elementary school children catch 8 to 12 flu-related cases each school year, and older kids catch about half of that.

So, how can students, as well as teachers, stay in a healthy environment?

"Wash your hands with soap and water," said Hannema. "Use some hand sanitizer if you can. "

While custodians will wipe up germs daily, students can also be proactive -- like sneezing and coughing into your elbow and using a tissue only once before you toss it.

Efforts from both sides are helping to ensure a healthy environment year-round.

"We're always looking at what we can do better," said Hannema. "We want to keep kids healthy here and learning. "

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