The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Clean Hands Coalition highlight several resources for parents and educators to promote good handwashing to help protect children from illness this cold and flu season.
Nearly 22 million school days are lost annually due to the common cold. One of the most common ways people catch colds is by rubbing their noses or eyes after touching someone who is sick or something that's contaminated with the cold virus. Recent studies of school children show that scheduled handwashing, at least four times a day, can reduce gastrointestinal illnesses and related absences by more than 50 percent.
The Clean Hands Coalition, an alliance of public and private partners dedicated to creating and supporting initiatives to promote hand hygiene, is calling upon kids and parents nationwide to help slow the spread of colds and flu by washing their hands often with soap and water, especially after they cough or sneeze. If soap and water isnt near, people can use an alcohol-based hand cleanser.
Keeping your hands clean is one of the most effective things you can do to keep from getting sick and spreading illnesses to others, says CDC Director Dr. Julie Gerberding. We want to encourage parents and schools to step up and promote these practices they really do make a difference.
This winter, CDC and the Clean Hands Coalition are pleased to highlight two resources for parents and educators:
· The Scrub Club is an animated, interactive Web site (www.scrubclub.org) developed as a fun way for kids to learn the importance of washing hands to fight infectious and foodborne diseases. Seven soaper-heroes each represent one of the six steps in the handwashing process Hot Shot and Chill combine to make the warm water essential for proper handwashing; Squeaks turns into various forms of soap; Taki becomes a clock that counts down the required 20 seconds for proper handwashing; Scruff reminds kids to clean around their nails; Tank turns into a sink to rinse away the germs and P.T. transforms into paper towels.
· Healthy Schools Healthy People, Its a SNAP (School Network for Absenteeism Prevention) www.itsasnap.org is a grass roots, education-based effort to improve health by making hand-cleaning an integral part of the school day. SNAP is designed to get the entire school community talking about clean hands by providing tools for incorporating hand hygiene into multiple subject areas and activities.
CDC works with many public and private organizations through the Clean Hands Coalition. Washing hands can help fight the spread of many infectious diseases and the goal of the Clean Hands Coalition is to create and support coordinated, sustained initiatives to improve health and save lives though clean hands.
In addition to resources for parents and educators, CDC offers educational aids and other resources to promote hand hygiene by food handlers and travelers and in healthcare settings. More information about the Clean Hands Initiative can be found at www.cdc.gov/cleanhands.