As you may already be aware, I’m bent on changing society’s attitude to Germs. I’m not advocating sterile living by any means, I’m not trying to pump people full of Germ Phobia but I do believe something needs to change. Times have changed, Medication has changed, Living Environments have changed: We need to RE-Respect the Germ.
Hand-washing is the most effective means of Infection Control, yet few of us have an ingrained Hand-washing regime in our daily routine. Doctors and Nurses are constantly reminded in their clinical environment to ‘wash hands between patients’ for a very good reason. Why is living in the community any different? How many of us wash our hands the moment we walk in the door? How many of us clean our hands before we eat when we are outside the house? How many of us would rather leave a public toilet with unwashed hands rather than touching the dubious looking taps? (Me for one! I can’t stand dirty taps…that’s why I never leave the house without Hand Sanitisers, but that doesn’t solve the issue of dirty taps and empty soap dispensers in public toilets in the first place). Not to mention the issues of actually drying hands: Drying your hands is integral to the Hand-Washing routine, it is thought that the friction can help to kill off some germs.
Which brings me onto the topic of schools. Schools are notorious breeding grounds for germs and allow infection to spread like wild fire. So why isn’t Hand-Washing seen as important there as it is in the hospital environment? What percentage of school children eat their lunch without washing their hands? The fact is, many children may not wash their hands all morning, engaging in the masses of school lessons and acitivies (sharing classroom utensils and so on) before going on to eat their lunch. Funny, how many in the Anti Vaccination lobby will cite the multiple Vaccinations ‘overloading’ the immune system? Yet I can only wonder at how much microbial loading there is sitting on a grubby hand lunch time at school!
Some schools are blessed with a school nurse, but unfortunately, many aren’t. Who is there to teach children about the importance of hand hygiene at school? I would love to see the Government implement a national “Nurses For Schools” Project and would willingly put my hand up to help (just in case there is someone important reading this…I’ve got tons of ideas! Promise!).
Time for Change
I will be implementing a Hand-Washing project at a local school in the next few weeks. The aims of the Project are to educate the children about Hand-Washing Technique and to encourage them to embark on a regular Hand-washing Routine. The really awesome part of the Project includes a Student Poster Designing Competition, the winning poster will be professionally produced and will be put above all sinks (Staff room included!) to serve as a reminder and stimulus.
The Children’s Global Hygiene Foundation has started circulating a petition, asking for a change to Government legislation that will allow for a sustainable, national standard of hygiene in schools. Currently guidelines for schools are not working and principals (who have to buy soap) often find their Hand-Washing Facilities the foci of bored vandals. I think this is such a good cause to support, why would there be legislation for Hand Hygiene in Day-Care centres but not in schools!? The mind boggles! Please sign the petition here and help to be a part of this change.
If you are interested in reading my Hand-Washing Tips read this or if you want read more of my thoughts on why I think we need to RE-Respect the Germ read this. I will be discussing other aspects of old fashioned Infection Control and Illness Prevention soon.