So the School Hand Washing Project has started and the whole school Hand Washing Poster Competition has been launched! The kids were super excited about designing a Hand Washing poster and many of them had some awesome questions and comments about Hand Washing – and other things 🙂 – here are some of the things they had to ask and share, and this is how I responded:
Can I dry my hands on my clothes?
Best not to. If you’ve just given your hands a good wash the last thing you want to do is dry them on clothes that may be dirty (remember you can’t see germs). Look for a hand dryer or paper towels. As we can’t be sure how clean a regular towel is, outside the house, the last resort is to carefully shake our hands and air-dry them, but making sure that we do this away from our friends and from objects/furniture.
How good are the Hand (sanitising) gels?
These are great to put in your bag to use when you are outside your house and there isn’t any soap and water available. They aren’t able to kill all kinds of germs (for example, Norovirus, the tummy bug causing the current Gastro Pandemic) but are definitely a great alternative to leaving your hands ‘dirty’. However, these gels won’t work if there is still visible dirt on your hands, so try and remove that first (either with a hand wash, or perhaps with a ‘wipe’) then use the gel.
Can I dry my hands on toilet paper?
This may seem like a good idea, but there is a problem with that. Toilet paper is always within the toilet cubicle, and it is within the toilet cubicle that germs may be circulated, made ‘airborne’ or the aerolised during flushing or during a bout of vomiting or diarrhoea (yucky, I know). These airborne particles land on all surfaces in the toilet cubicle and could then be wiped back onto your hands after you’ve washed them clean if toilet paper is used as a drying agent.
What about opening the door to the toilet?
This is tricky as the best public toilets are the ‘walk in’ ones but there are many of course where you need to open a door (or two) to exit. One thing that is useful to use is a paper towel (if available) to place over the door handle to pull it open. If the door is a push open door, you could use your shoulder to push it open.
What if I have four pets at home?
No problem, just be extra mindful to wash your hands before you eat and of course, to try and limit your ‘face touching!’
Is it OK to leave a little bit of dirt on your hands?
Best to try and wash it all off, which if your hands are really muddy, you may need to repeat the hand wash two or three times. Mud actually washes off quite easily, it’s things like pen that stays on your hands. If you can still see dirt on your hands, that also means there can still be germs there.
Can germs live outside the body?
Yes, many germs can not only live outside the body but can also multiply outside the body. There some germs, like viruses, multiply only in the body, they can survive for long periods of time on objects in the environment around us. That’s why hand washing is so important.
Can I please wash my hands now..? (shuffles away from the group, followed by two others desperate to wash their hands…)
Best Comments of the Day
“There are upsides and downsides to medication. Some make us live longer, but some bugs are getting used to medication and aren’t working as well anymore.”
“You can carry kleenex tissues in your pocket to dry your hands on” (if nothing else is suitable to use).
“When my dad had diarrhoea and I had to wash my hands lots.”
“I puked over a nurse once in hospital. It had blood in it.”
“It’s the Nurse who picked Nits out of our hair.”
“My dog slobbers over me.”
“I squished a bug once.”