Asking a child to wash their hands can sometimes be a difficult task

Asking a child to wash their hands can sometimes be a difficult task.

  • My hands are not dirty
  • not now
  • I have just done it
  • I am playing

Above are just some of the excuses that children will give so they don’t have to wash their hands. On the other hand, some of children that will wash their hands when asked, will run them under a cold tap and think they have done what was asked of them. This type of hand hygiene is less than adequate in helping to reduce infections from spreading from child to child.

Respiratory infections and diahorrea and vomiting are two of the most common infections that are contracted in the school environment and can affect school attendance rates among children and staff alike. Bacteria that cause coughs, colds and flu are not only spread through the air from coughing and sneezing, the bacteria can also be carried on the hands, as is the bacteria that causes norovirus which we all know spreads in environments such as schools very quickly, leaving many feeling very unwell.

Hand washing is one of the most effective ways of protecting yourself against harmful bacteria therefore it is important that we are all aware of how and when to wash our hands.

It stands to reason that everyone should be washing their hands after using the bathroom but it is equally important to wash our hands before preparing food, before eating and when our hands look and feel dirty.

When one is ready to wash their hands, sleeves should be rolled up and hands should be placed under warm running water, when wet preferably liquid soap should be applied, hands should be rubbed together ensuring that wrists, palms, the back of hands, thumbs and fingers are all covered in soap. Once this has been done you can then rinse your hands under the warm running water. It should take as long as it does to sing “Happy Birthday” as it should to wash your hands so do try to remember when explaining the importance of hand hygiene to children. Drying of hands is equally important, hands, should be dried with clean paper towels ensuring that all areas are dried properly.

Bacteria are invisible to the naked eye but we are surrounded by it which is why we need to teach our children that hand washing is a vital step in keeping us safe and free from illness.

By Graziella Kontkowski