A lot of people think hand sanitizer is better, she says, but really, washing with soap and water is the most effective way to eliminate germs.
"My kids are obsessed with hand sanitizer," said Amy Falcone, a seventh-grade science teacher who teaches at Wood Dale Junior High in the suburbs of Chicago. "It's a part of the school supply list we send home for kids to bring, along with Kleenex. I'd prefer they wash their hands, but I know it will do in a pinch."
Falcone used to think the "school plague" was more of an elementary school thing, but with increasing pressure to get good grades, some older students do come to school sick. And that gets others sick.
"I've never been a sickly person, but I did catch strep throat about three years ago," Falcone said. "I've never had it in my entire life, but I had it. Got rid of it. Got it again."
Falcone's been teaching for more than 20 years. She's noticed that some of the newer teachers are getting sick more often.
"When you are new, you are killing yourself to impress, and some young teachers really do forget to take care of themselves," Falcone said.
She advises new teachers to make sure they keep up with their own healthy habits. "Eat healthy, get sleep, do whatever you do to reduce stress."
Falcone coaches her school's Girls on the Run program. It helps her and her students decompress, as well as stay in shape. "That's especially important for me as a teacher. I can't really miss school," she said. "I've got kids lined up at my door every morning. I need to be there for them. Staying healthy is totally doable."