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ATLANTA -- The summer months have whizzed by, and it's time for back-to-school preparations, not only for students but also for parents. "Back to school" signals the start of an important process -- getting the children physically, mentally and emotionally ready to face the rigors and uncertainty of the new school year.
But many students may not be prepared to combat germs. Everyday, children are exposed to a wide variety of germs at school.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, each year there are approximately 52 million cases of the common cold in children under 17 years old. This leads to nearly 22 million lost school days for children in the United States. In an attempt to reduce these numbers, Sparkle paper towels and the Georgia-Pacific HealthSmart Web site developed an All About Clean Hands initiative to teach students about the importance of proper hand washing and cleanliness.
Many germs and diseases spread by touching a surface that is covered with germs. These germs and bacteria then jump onto other parts of your body when you touch your eyes, ears and mouth with germ-infected hands. One of the easiest and most important steps to being healthy is washing your hands properly and often.
These simple tips can help students and adults alike stay healthy all year:
* Moisten your hands under warm, running water from the sink.
* Squeeze liquid soap into the palm of your hand.
* Rub hands together for 10-15 seconds. Lather every surface well,
especially around the nails.
* Rinse all the soap off your hands with warm, running water.
* Dry your hands using disposable paper towels that can help you wipe off
and throw away the germs.
* After drying hands, grasp the faucet handle with your used paper towel
to turn off the water. Avoid touching the sink or faucet handles, so
you don't pick up germs from those surfaces.
* Throw your used paper towels in the trash.
The Georgia-Pacific Health Smart Web site is an educational initiative dedicated to evaluating and facilitating ways to improve personal hygiene practices, including the use of disposable paper products. For more information on how to make handwashing fun, visit www.gphealthsmart.com/cleanhands/.