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How to protect kids from all the illness going around

This year, RSV or Respiratory Syncytial Virus has been in full swing, with a lot more cases than usual.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich — Parents may be wondering what they can do to protect their children from all the illness going around.

More than 90 students with flu-like symptoms missed school at West Elementary in Holland on Wednesday. The school cancelled classes Thursday and Friday as a result. 

RELATED: Sick calls force Holland elementary school to close for two days

"This is the time of year being winter that we see a lot of viral respiratory illnesses," Helen DeVos Children's Hospital Pediatric Hospitalist, Dr. Dan McGee said.

This year, it seems RSV or Respiratory Syncytial Virus has been in full swing, with a lot more cases than usual.

"I think it's across the board, we know that our regional hospital systems that are testing these patients are showing these increases in RSV," Kent County Health Department Epidemiologist Brian Hartl said.

RELATED: CDC warns flu vaccine does not match the virus hitting children especially hard

McGee said if your child has a fever, that's your sign that he or she should stay home.

"With a sniffly, runny nose you have to use your judgement," McGee said. "If it's allergies that your child has all the time, you don't have to keep them home, but if this is something new that has come on suddenly, then you might want to think about keeping your child home from school."

He says the reason why West Elementary School was closed was because someone went to school carrying the infection.

"Sometimes we don't feel like our child is that ill and is it really going to make a difference," McGee said. "The big take home point is if your child is ill, don't send them to school, because all of those kids at that school got sick because somebody sent their child to school while they were sick."

Monitor your child to determine when it's safe for them to return to school.

RELATED: VERIFY: How effective is the flu vaccine?

"We always recommend 24 hours fever free without any medication to reduce their fever, so that's the big one if your kid has a fever, then stay home from school," Hartl said.

Washing your hands, covering your cough and keeping your hands away from your face is the best way to prevent an illness.

"We talk that, preach that all the time, so hand washing all the time, avoiding touching your eyes, your nose, your mouth because if you're touching surfaces and if you touch your eyes and your nose, that's a good way to introduce the virus to your system," Hartl said.

It's also important to note that the flu season is not over which means it's not too late to get your flu shot if you haven't already.

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