MESA, AZ - Germs and kids are a bad combination, especially since we're in the midst of what's being called the worst flu season in 10 years.
So far 18 children have died from the virus in the U.S. and 41 states are seeing intense flu outbreaks.
Arizona isn't one of them yet, but we're still getting our fair share of cases.
This has many parents on edge as they drop off their children at schools and daycare centers, where germs are prevalent any time of year.
Sunrise Preschools operates 25 centers across the Valley and is being proactive to keep kids safe and healthy.
President Dana Vela says their employees take simple but effective steps to stop germs from spreading.
She says being vigilant about hand washing is the most important action to fighting the flu.
She teaches kids to get the paper towel ready first, then wet their hands, followed by getting the soap.
She says children should sing the ABC Song two times while they're lathering, then dry their hands and throw the towel away.
They should do this several times a day at school, at home and while they're out and about with their parents.
She says parents love to use hand sanitizer, but it's not nearly as effective as soap and water and the friction caused by lathering.
She recommends only using it when a sink and soap is not available.
Also because hand sanitizer is mostly alcohol, she says it can be toxic for toddlers.
Employees use a mostly water with a little bit of bleach solution to sanitize tabletops, other surfaces and toys.
They also teach kids to cough into a tissue or their elbow rather than coughing into mid air or into their hand.
Vela says it's important parents take these steps at home to ensure kids are staying healthy outside of school.