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How To Reduce the Spread of Bugs in Schools

Posted on October 30th, 2013

We all think we know how to wash our hands, but do we do it correctly every time?

When the weather starts to get colder, it’s important that pupils and teachers stay fit and healthy. Do you know how many days are lost each year at your school to coughs, colds and stomach bugs?

We’re all aware that frequent hand washing is one of the single most important things we can do to help reduce the spread of infection and prevent ill health. But as children have always got something fun to do and staff are always under pressure with their work, it’s easy to forget to wash hands as frequently as required. Simply putting hands under a running tap is not enough – even if you quickly use soap. It’s very easy to miss areas of your hands where bacteria and other harmful micro-organisms can congregate.

Remember, viruses can be spread by sharing pens, touching door handles and passing teaspoons round in staff rooms.

Did you know, it takes 15 to 30 seconds to wash your hands properly? This is about how long it takes to sing ‘Happy Birthday To You’ twice!
Getting this message out to children (particularly young ones) will also help to influence their hand washing practises at home as well as at school.

What are the most frequently missed areas when hand washing?

  • Thumbs
  • Finger nails
  • In between fingers

What are the steps for correct hand washing?

  1. Wet hands with water (This step is often missed!)
  2. Apply enough soap to cover all hand surfaces
  3. Rub hands palm to palm
  4. Rub back of each hand with palm of other hand with fingers interlaced
  5. Rub palm to palm with fingers interlaced
  6. Rub with back of fingers to opposing palms with fingers interlocked
  7. Rub each thumb clasped in opposite hand using a rotational movement
  8. Rub tips of fingers in opposite palm in a circular motion
  9. Rinse hands with water
  10. Dry thoroughly with a single-use towel (It’s vitally important not to share fabric towels)
Hand Washing

Teachers and children should wash hands frequently to help prevent the spread of viruses.

These directions were adapted from the World Health Organisation ‘Guidelines on Hand Hygiene in Healthcare.’