It's that time of year where germs and viruses are spreading rapidly, especially when it comes to children. 

Pediatrician Yolanda Spraggins says between now and March is the peak time where a lot of kids will become sick. 

"Kids, you know, are just in general not very hygienic, and so they share a lot; mostly germs" Dr. Spraggins, of Galen East Internal Medicine and Pediatrics off Gunbarrel Rd, said. "With the weather changing and getting colder and they're inside more we tend to get a lot more sick kids." 

Dr. Spraggins typically sees about 30 patients a day around this time of year. Upset stomach, vomiting and diarrhea are symptoms she has seen a lot lately.

"This year it seems that we have had a lot more gastrointestinal viruses, but it seems we've had a lot more repeated cycles," Dr. Spraggins said. 

Dr. Spraggins said this wasn't the case last year, but she said she's not sure why the stomach virus is going around as much as it is.

"Most of the germs are more contact spread, but a lot of things are respiratory spread, you know, coughing and spreading germs that way," Dr. Spraggins said. "It's just hard to avoid when you have a lot of kids in one space or a lot of people in one space." 

That includes classrooms. 

Back in February, more than 3,000 Hamilton County students and hundreds of teachers were out of school because of the flu or other illnesses. A spokesperson for Hamilton County Schools says five elementary schools will be fogged to kill bacteria and viruses this year during Christmas break. 

They include: 

  • Lookout Mountain Elementary School 
  • Nolan Elementary School 
  • Woodmore Elementary School 
  • Snow Hill Elementary School 
  • DuPont Elementary School 

The school district's janitorial employees will be getting with all of the county's principals Monday to see if there are other sites that need to be cleaned extensively. Otherwise, schools will be wiped down and cleaned as usual. 

In the meantime, Dr. Spraggins said everyone should keep a few things in mind.

"Keep your hands clean for everybody, and you know the proper way to cough into your elbow or your shoulder, and keep your hands clean and if your child is sick, keep them home."