As kids begin class, contagious illnesses begin to ramp up; especially strep throat and pink eye. Both are contagious and easily spread from child to child.

“There is concern as we bring our children back to school,” said Tressa Silberberg, a family nurse practitioner at CVS MinuteClinic. “They’re surrounded by a lot of other children, they haven’t been around for a few months, just a lot of new germs and new experiences.”

So what can parents do about it? First, remind your child about proper handwashing techniques. Hands should be washed for 20 seconds or the length of the “Happy Birthday” song. They should also cover their cough and make sure they’re sneezing or coughing into an elbow or tissue.

But a lot of their immunity will begin at home.

“Great basic sleep is always good,” Silberberg said. “Making sure they get to bed on time. Making sure they get the recommended amount of time for their age is always a way to encourage or boost their immune sytem.”

And more prevention can be found in their diet.

“Good, proper nutrition, making sure we’re getting lots of good minerals and vitamins,” she said. “Fruits and vegetables are a good way to encourage the immune system to grow and flourish.”

And don’t forget about their mental health as well. Check in with them often.

“Ask them about school, ask them about friends and classes and teachers,” Silberberg said. “Mental health cannot be stressed enough. It’s very important to constantly check and see how they’re doing.”

A few other reminders; tell your children never to share brushes, makeup or eye drops. They also should never share water bottles with classmates, even if it’s during sports practices.