CHARLESTON COUNTY, SC (WCSC) - For many, back-to-school means pencils, classrooms and eager students.
For others, kids going back to school takes on a different meaning.
"We have been very busy, very busy," said Dr. Joe Marino with Doctors Care in West Ashley.
Marino said the sights and sounds of the classroom are carried into the doctor's office.
"They cough," Marino said. "They sneeze. They wipe their hands on their nose."
Marino has been a doctor for 40 years and says the increase in sickness is typical this time of year. He says parents need to be alert.
"Good hand washing and don't send children to school that have fevers," Marino said.
He suggests washing hands with soap and water, not just sanitizer, keeping a balanced diet and getting enough sleep. He also says sickness this time of year is inevitable.
Recently-retired teacher Caroline Newton isn't in the classroom this year and says she doesn't miss the sickness and the dilemma it brings.
"In high school, it's hard to keep them home when they just have a little cold because they miss so much," Newton said. "But, if they're really sick and contagious we would of course rather them stay home and get better."
For new mom Corbett Tripler, sending students back to school makes her nervous.
"I think craziness," said Tripler, with her nine-month-old soon Penn. "I think a lot of germs obviously everywhere, I'm sure. He hasn't gone to the classroom yet."
She said she knows she's going to have to face the facts with back-to-school illnesses.
"I think a lot of it is unavoidable," Tripler said. "They have to be exposed at some point. You can't keep them in a bubble."
Some parents, like Tripler, are anticipating future illness.
Others, like Newton, are remembering past illnesses.
And, doctors, like Marino, are dealing with sick patients as they come.