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Three Tips for a Healthy School Year

144 million school days are lost to illness each year

AKRON, Ohio, Aug. 21, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Children unknowingly spread germs in a number of ways, whether through sharing utensils with classmates, putting their hands in their mouth, or not covering their sneezes and coughs. Unfortunately, the spread of illness-causing germs can lead to missed school days. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, illness causes 144 million lost school days each year, which has a tremendous impact on student's ability to learn and grow.1

Practicing good hand hygiene is essential to illness prevention. Always wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds, making sure to rub your whole hand, including both sides of your hands, in between your fingers and especially your fingertips.

Here are three health tips that parents can share with their children for this upcoming school year.

1) Wash and sanitize hands

Keeping hands clean is one of the most important steps we can take to avoid getting sick and spreading germs to others.2  In a study reported in Pediatrics, researchers examined the effectiveness of educational and hand hygiene programs that include alcohol-based hand sanitizer in children zero to three years old, enrolled in child care centers at least 15 hours per week.3 The researchers found that those using hand sanitizer achieved the following significant results:

  • approximately a 30 percent reduction in antibiotic prescriptions
  • approximately a 23 percent reduction in respiratory infections
  • lower number of days absent due to respiratory infections

Parents can begin handwashing and hand sanitizing lessons at home at a young age, and teachers can reinforce it in the classroom.

Handwashing
The entire process should take at least 20 seconds.

  • Wet hands with water
  • Apply enough soap to create a lather
  • Cover all hand surfaces with the lather by rubbing hands palm to palm and carefully scrubbing the fingers, back and front of hands and each thumb
  • Rinse hands with water
  • Gently dry hands with a clean paper towel

Hand Sanitizing
The entire process should take approximately 15 seconds. The CDC recommends using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol.4 

  • Apply a dime-sized amount of an alcohol-based hand sanitizer, like PURELL® Hand Sanitizer in the palm of your hand, enough to cover all surfaces of your hands
  • Rub the sanitizer into the palms of your hands, fingers, back and front of hands and thumbs
  • Continue rubbing hands together until they are dry

2) Learn the key moments for hand hygiene

Key moments at school for children to wash with soap and water, or sanitize their hands with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer are:

  • after using the bathroom
  • before and after eating
  • after recess
  • after sneezing or coughing

3) Know the germ hotspots

It helps to share with children where the germ hotspots are in a school. By doing this, it encourages them to wash or sanitize their hands after coming into contact with the places that are touched by many hands in a day.

The germ hotspots include:

  • cafeteria tables
  • computer keyboards and mice
  • desks
  • handrails
  • gym equipment
  • faucets
  • door knobs

About GOJO
GOJO, the inventor of PURELL® Hand Sanitizer, is the leading global producer and marketer of skin health and hygiene solutions for away-from-home settings. The broad GOJO product portfolio includes hand cleaning, handwashing, hand sanitizing, skin care formulas and surface sprays under the GOJO®, PURELL® and PROVON® brand names. GOJO formulations use the latest advances in the science of skin care and sustainability. GOJO is known for state-of-the-art dispensing technology, engineered with attention to design, sustainability, and functionality. GOJO programs promote healthy behaviors for hygiene, skin care and compliance in critical environments. GOJO is a family enterprise headquartered in Akron, Ohio, with operations in the United Kingdom, France, Australia, Japan, Mexico, and Canada. Learn more about GOJO.

  1. Guinan, M., M. McGuckin, and Y. Ali. 2002. The effect of a comprehensive hand washing program on absenteeism in elementary schools. American Journal of Infection Control 31: 1-8.
  2. Retrieved August 5, 2019 https://www.cdc.gov/handwashing/why-handwashing.html  
  3. Retrieved on August 5, 2019 http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/early/2018/10/04/peds.2018-1245 
  4. Retrieved August 5, 2019 https://www.cdc.gov/handwashing/why-handwashing.html

 

According to the CDC, keeping hands clean is one of the most important steps we can take to avoid getting sick and spreading germs to others. As a new school year begins, make sure your child knows where the germ hotspots are in school, and the key moments they should be cleaning their hands.
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