Professional school cleaning tips for teaching children how to properly wash their hands, and advice on how to make it enjoyable for everyone.
School Cleaning Tips for Teaching Kids to Wash Their Hands
Proper handwashing is the single most important element to eliminate the spread of germs, particularly among young children.
Children, eager to do anything but, often neglect proper hand hygiene.
Where this behavior becomes extremely problematic is where it touches the lives of others.
Of significant concern is where the early behavior becomes a habit in adult life.
This is especially true for healthcare professionals and those who handle food, specifically in the care of children, where germs are easily passed.
How Important is Handwashing?
The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that more than 1.4 Million cases of Hospital Associated Infections (HAI) are ongoing yearly, stating;
Health-care workers are often the conduit for the spread of such infections to other patients in their care.
It should also be noted here that many patients may carry microbes without any obvious signs or symptoms of an infection (colonized or sub clinically-infected).
This clearly reinforces the need for hand hygiene, irrespective of the type of patient being cared for.
According to The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC):
It is estimated that washing hands with soap and water could reduce diarrheal disease-associated deaths by up to 50%.
Researchers in London estimate that if everyone routinely washed their hands, a million deaths a year could be prevented.
A large percentage of foodborne disease outbreaks are spread by contaminated hands.
Appropriate hand washing practices can reduce the risk of foodborne illness and other infections.
Handwashing can reduce the risk of respiratory infections by 16%.
The use of an alcohol gel hand sanitizer in the classroom provided an overall reduction in absenteeism due to infection by 19.8% among 16 elementary schools and 6,000 students.
-Hygiene Fast Facts – Information on Water-related Hygiene
The Mysterious Tale of Typhoid Mary
Between 1906 and 1915, Mary Mallon a.k.a Mary Brown or, more commonly, Typhoid Mary, was responsible for the infection of countless individuals, and the death of at least three people.
Ms. Mallon was, what is referred to as, an asymptomatic carrier of Salmonella Typhi (Typhoid Fever); meaning that, while she was a carrier, she was immune to the disease.
Mary, an Irish immigrant, was employed as a cook for several wealthy families throughout the U.S. and was directly responsible for infecting many of them until 1909 when she was arrested and quarantined in isolation.
She was released in 1910 with the promise that she would no longer attempt to seek employment as a cook, which she immediately reneged on under the alias Mary Brown.
She was arrested again in 1915 and ordered to quarantine in isolation, where she remained until 1932 when a visitor discovered her paralyzed on the floor; the result of a stroke.
Ms. Mallon died in 1938.
Parts of her life, specifically who funded her case against the U.S. Supreme Court, and the truth about the results of her autopsy, remain a mystery.
What is not a mystery is why Ms. Mallon was singled out when other asymptomatic carriers were known at the time, nor how she was able to infect so many.
She was a cook who did not wash her hands well enough when preparing food for others.
According to History;
Doctors theorized that Mallon likely passed along typhoid germs by failing to vigorously scrub her hands before handling food.
However, since the elevated temperatures necessary to cook food would have killed the bacteria, Soper wondered just how Mallon could have transferred the germs.
He found the answer in one of Mallon’s most popular dessert dishes—ice cream with raw peaches cut up and frozen in it.
Resources for Teachers and Parents
Obviously, teaching children to wash their hands properly and thoroughly is vital to their health and the wellbeing of those around them.
However, kids often miss areas under their fingernails and in between their fingers.
For the lesson to ‘stick’, the children must be visually engaged in an enjoyable activity.
Simple, inexpensive, do it yourself methods include:
- Various applications of glitter on the hands to demonstrate how germs are passed or where handwashing was not thorough.
- Singing favorite children songs and set number of times to ensure their hands are scrubbed for at least 20 seconds.
- Place notices next to tissue boxes and in or near restrooms reminding children to wash their hands.
- Make the handwashing station kid friendly and ensure it is well stocked.
Remember, children imitate everything.
When first starting out, wash your hands with them and reward them for doing a good job.
Professional Recommendations and Resources
Additional, professional online resources include:
- The City of Columbus Public Health – Teaching Handwashing
- NSF Scrub Club® for Kids – Teachers Guide
- Minnesota Department of Health
- BrainPOP Educators – Washing Hands Activities for Kids
- Media Research Center – CDC: Healthcare Pros Killing Patients by Not Washing Hands Half Enough
- Public Broadcast System/NOVA – The Most Dangerous Woman in America: In Her Own Words
- National Institutes of Health – Mary Mallon (1869-1938) and the history of typhoid fever
Proper hand hygiene is vital to the health of everyone, especially susceptible children in schools.
The death toll, when compared to the simplicity of the solution, is intolerable in an advanced society, specifically where health care professionals are concerned.
Handwashing, combined with quality green cleaning practices will ensure a safe, happy, and healthy school year.
If you would like to learn more about the benefits of professional cleaning services for your business, contact us today for a free quote!
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