INDIANAPOLIS — As classrooms fill up once again across Central Indiana, kids often bring home more than just their homework.

“The first day he returned to school, he got us all sick,” said local parent Candice Owens. “We knew it was because he went to school, and that was upsetting.”

Oftentimes when young Hoosier students return to school, they can bring home illnesses carried by their classmates.

“I’m nervous about it,” said parent Mary Johnson. “I mean, every winter, my daughter comes back with an illness like twice a month.”

Health experts like Michael McKenna, MD, a pediatrician with Ascension St. Vincent, said immunizations are an excellent place to start managing what some call the “back-to-school plague.”

“Last year, we saw flu very early, RSV very early, and strep throat,” said Dr. McKenna.

Dr. McKenna said that it is important to get ahead of the game before your kid gets sick. Healthy lifestyle habits like getting enough sleep and eating nutritious foods boost immunity, helping the body combat illnesses.

“So, I want everybody to get their flu shot,” he said. “And ensure you’re washing your hands.”

Starting in September, health experts recommend that everyone get a flu shot and ensure their vaccinations are current.

“There is certainly a role for your primary care doctor to see your teenager, whether it’s checking for anxiety or depression,” said Dr. McKenna.