Keeping bad bugs away 22nd February 2019
May the Soap be with you” - keeping bad bugs away from children in schools and crèches
Bacteria and viruses from hundreds of homes meet at crèches, schools and day-care centres every day. It is a fact that the ten best things to spread bugs are the ten fingers of your hands – especially if they are sticky and you put them in your mouth a lot.
The risks are ten-fold when it comes to a child's hands. Dr Nuala O Connor GP and ICGP Lead advisor on infection control advises parents that the path to good personal hygiene starts with a simple yet effective hand washing technique that your child can grasp easily. Young children are at increased risk for contracting infectious diseases because they:
• are grouped together and are exposed to many new germs
• have immune systems that are not fully developed to fight germs
• do not have complete control of body fluids that contain germs
• have personal habits that spread germs such as
o thumb sucking
o rubbing eyes
o putting things in their mouths
The most important thing is children’s health, but clean hands also help stop infections in mums, dads and grandparents. Good hand hygiene can help parents reduce the risk of having to stay home from work due to their child’s or their own illness. However if you are sick it is important to stay home from work or school when sick.
It is critical that children are given the proper instruction when washing their hands at an early stage so that it comes naturally to them in later. They should wash their hands too when they are out and about; when they use the toilet; and before they eat. . Don’t bother with soaps that have antibacterial agents, plain soap is fine. Antibacterial soaps might play a part in making antibiotic resistance more common.”
Provide clean and dry towels close to the sink for your child to dry their hands with. If sinks and water aren’t available to children outside the home a sanitiser gel can be used to clean hands; however soap and water is needed to wash visibly dirty hands. There are lots of hand hygiene tips and videos on www.hse.ie/infectioncontrol
Hand Washing Technique
Simply running your hands under cold water is not enough to get the job done. Washing your hand the right way does not need to last longer than thirty seconds. Follow these four easy steps to clean hands well at home, in crèches or school:
1. Take off rings and jewellery as they tend to hold dirt and skin bugs.
2. Wet hands and wrists with warm water and then “use the soap”.
3. Lather well and clean all parts of the hand especially the finger tips
4. Hold hands below elbow level to prevent water from running up arms and back down, thus contaminating clean areas.
The way you clean you clean your hands is important for all members of the family and for everyone in school. From cooking to cleaning, our hands pick up so many hidden dangers that can be taken away by the simple act of hand washing.