AISD Absenteeism Soars Many Abilene ISD students are away from school this week and in the doctors office. While the weather is far from winter temperatures, doctors say it is the sudden drop and fluctuation of temperature that is causing so many kids to appear in waiting rooms. Strep throat and head colds are two illnesses being passed around in school hallways. Many sick kids are also getting upper respiratory infections, keeping them out of school even longer. While there are a number of bad germs in schools this time of year, there are some things parents can do to boost immunity in kids. Zinc has been proven to help wiht sore throats and shorten the duration of colds. Getting enough Vitamin C from vegetables or pills can reduce a childs chance of getting a cold by 50%. Foods with antioxidants will also strengthen their bodys ability to ward off bad germs. What do doctors say is still the best way to keep kids from getting sick? Hand-washing. Regularly and thoroughly washing hands with soap and water has shown to be the best way to get rid of germs. Besides, you never know who touched what before you did. Mann and Madison middle schools have two of the highest number of absent students this week due to sickness.