By: Alison Dunn Aug 24, 2010

I'm sick of everyone getting sick in September.

Every time the kids go back to school, it only takes about a week or two before everyone in my house gets sick. Colds, flus, gastro bugs, runny noses, sniffles, sneezes… it doesn't take long before we're all overtaken by some illness or another.

Last year was probably the worst, as we all contracted the H1N1 flu. While that flu wasn't as bad as the media predicted, it still gave our house a week or two of the yuckies (not to mention a ton of wadded up Kleenex).

Why are schools such cesspools of germs? And why is September always the prime time to get sick? Most importantly, is there any way we can avoid our kids (and by extension us) getting sick? We sent contributor Sydney Loney to find out the answers to those questions, which you can read this week in "Beating back to school bugs" on Primacy Life.

I often wonder if it's suddenly being back together in a big group that does it every year. I know when my oldest son was a toddler and went off to nursery school, he started getting colds and ear infections far more frequently than usual. Before that, he and I were pretty much on our own other than a few hours of playgroup once a week or the occasional visit with friends. He was hardly ever sick, and neither were we. As soon as he was with a larger group of children, the illnesses started almost immediately. His little brother had it even worse – he got sick the first time at two months old, courtesy of big brother and the nursery school.

Recently a friend of mine experienced the same thing. She was heading back to work after her year of maternity leave, and had to put her daughter in daycare for the first time. Within a week, the little gal had her first major cold. Then my friend caught the same thing and boom! Home sick from work and daycare – and they'd only just started!

I've heard that in time, children start to build up immunity to all these small ailments, and eventually they don't get sick quite as much. But so far, that hasn't been the case for us. The kids get out of school in June, have a wonderful summer outdoors with friends, then head back to school and the cycle of illness starts again.

That means it's time to start stocking up on Kleenex, Tylenol, Advil, orange juice, Echinacea, hand sanitizer and cough drops. Back to school is coming, and we're going to need our arsenal of lotions and potions to try and make it through.

Is it any wonder I'm already sick of September? And it hasn't even started!

A journalist with more than 10 years experience, Alison’s work has appeared in a number of top Canadian publications, including glow, Oxygen, Canadian Running and more. She is the former editor of a number of well-respected Canadian and American trade journals and recipient of a Kenneth R. Wilson Gold Award of Excellence in feature article writing. She is a part-time faculty member at Sheridan College’s journalism department, as well as an avid runner and fitness enthusiast.