Every child is different, but sometimes we hear about the same type of virus that sickens thousands or hundreds of thousands of kids every cold and flu season. And recently some illnesses have sent a few thousand school-age children across the country home for several days at a time with similar respiratory problems.

It seems that some new illness or virus makes its way through schools, preschools and day-care facilities throughout the country, and the numbers of affected kids seems to increase every year. Yet, maybe you don't notice, but there are some kids who can go through these pandemics every year and rarely miss any school time.

However, these various illnesses could very well cause if not alarm, at least some concern if you are a parent in the vicinity of some of these cases. How can you best defend your child from these illnesses so your child can stay in school and maximize his or her learning opportunities? Believe it or not, there seems to be some common traits among children who rarely get sick and are known for having perfect attendance at school. Here are some tips for keeping your children healthy all year:

Clean hands. Kids who do not get sick tend to have good hand-cleaning habits, washing or sanitizing several times a day - when first arriving at school, before and after recess, before and after lunch, after going to the bathroom, etc.

Activity. Regular exercise, like daily recess or P.E. classes, seems to boost immunity in children by as much as 50 percent in some research. It's claimed to be the best defense against sickness.

Lots of rest. Make sure you stick to a bedtime routine. Less sleep for kids has shown to weaken the immune system and make kids more susceptible to illnesses. Schoolage kids should get between 10-11 hours for the younger grades to eight hours for older ones.

Avoiding the face. Many viruses tend to enter the body through the facial cavities, so teach your kids to not touch their faces excessively and to wash their hands either before or after touching their faces.

Healthy meals. Kids who eat fruits and vegetables every day are better equipped to defend against viruses because of the vitamins C and D that are prevalent in many foods.