A blog / article by Trish Parnell ‘Germs (and kids) Go Back To School!’ highlights the new wave of infections about to hit european parents and children as they go back to school. Every year its the same, coughs, colds, sore throats and some more serious infections and illnesses that hit school and college aged children, students and their parents. Teachers also are not immune and two to four weeks into the new semester or term illness strikes. New parents filled with the joy of a child starting ‘Big’ school after being schooled and kept at home for the first four or five years of the child’s lives are unaware of the dangers and infections about to be introduced into the home. Simple hand washing with mild liquid soap and warm water on a regular basis during the teaching day together with the occasional wipe down of surfaces, door handles and light switches can all help to reduce the spread of infections.
Trish encourages the teaching of regular hand washing to children, however the need to cascade this information to parents is also required. When illness strikes a child in a school or childcare setting, barrier techniques are introduced and used until the child is collected and goes home. A pity that this does not carry on in the large majority of home environments. A vicious four week cycle now establishes itself in the family and the 5 to 7 day incubation period of most common illnesses starts its annual tour of the average family of 2.4 children and parents. The use of hand gels and antibacterial soaps will help to reduce this cycle but the use of simple liquid hand soaps and regular hand washing will help to reduce this cycle further. There is a reliance on Alcohol or antibacterial based hand sanitisers and cleaners in a large majority of households, sometimes these are abused and can lead to dry skin problems which can in some develop in to cracks and joints in the skin which are exposed and bleed. Simple liquid hand soap used in daily hand washing will soften the hands and in some cases be just as effective as antibacterial soaps. Theses two hand wash procedures when used together can be an effective barrier to prevent the spread of infections and illness.
Delivering a lesson on hand washing to young people needs to be fun and enjoyable for the young student and needs to be supported with good handouts that are able to be carried and cascaded to the home environment. When that happens the vicious circle of infections circulating around the education and home environment can hopefully be reduced.
There are some very good handouts available online its just up to the teacher to be inventive and creative in how the lesson is developed and presented.