Did you know that, on average, elementary school children get eight to 12 colds or cases of the flu each school year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention? This school year, follow some healthy habits to avoid the back-to-school plague.

First, wash hands and other items that you touch, like cell phones or desks, frequently. Cell phones carry 10 times more bacteria than most toilet seats; and school desks have been found to hold 400 times more bacteria than toilets.

The CDC recommends hand washing several times a day, including before and after eating, blowing your nose, coughing and sneezing, and after using the toilet.

•Wet your hands with clean water, apply soap, lather your hands and scrub them for at least 20 seconds (equivalent to singing the "Happy Birthday" song twice), including the backs of your hands, under your nails and between your fingers.

•Dry with a clean towel or air dry.

 •Use hand sanitizer if soap and water aren't readily available.

•When coughing or sneezing, use tissues or cough or sneeze into the crook of your elbow.

•Avoid touching your face throughout the day, including your eyes, nose and mouth, to reduce the spread of germs.

You can also pick up school supplies that help fight germs, such as Easy Liner brand shelf liner with Clorox antimicrobial protection. The shelf liner features an antimicrobial additive to prevent the growth of odor-causing mold and mildew on the liner. Plus, it can be tossed in the wash for easy cleaning.

Place it in areas of your home or classroom where school items are stored like floors, counters, desks and shelves.

For more information, visit duckbrand.com.