NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — School is back in session, and for a lot of parents, that means more visits to the doctor.

Experts say school is one of the most common places for kids to come in contact with germs that can make them sick, CBS2’s Alex Denis reported.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, elementary school children contract a cold or other illnesses — like the flu — eight to 12 times per school year.

While you can’t avoid all the germs, there are some simple ways for children to try and minimize contact.

Some of the worst “hot zones” are water fountains, which typically carry more germs than toilet seats, and are not disinfected as often.

Cafeteria trays also breed germs — they are not always wiped between meals and food often comes into direct contact.

Items that are shared between students, like desks and art supplies, can also serve as a catalyst for illness.

For prevention, parents should make sure children are washing their hands with soap and water, as well as maintaining a good diet and sleep schedule to keep up their immune systems.

And, if your child does get sick, parents should keep them home so they do not spread their illness to others.