K-12 school has just launched this week (third week in August) nearly everywhere. Universities and college campuses are usually similarly engaged after another week. Youth everywhere are filing through the doors of buildings designed to support enrichment of their minds. Along with bringing all those kids together in close quarters come the fall colds, influenza and illnesses like MRSA and Norovirus.
From the CDC to the World Health Organization there has been an emphasis on spreading the word about the importance hand washing plays in health. And for good reason. Although most of us know this, we tend to forget how often and under what circumstances to remember to wash. 58% of surveyed Americans say they have watched other restroom users exit without washing their hands. Even hospital personnel forget to wash as often as they should. Internal hospital studies have shown doctors are among the "forgetters" as they move from room to room checking patients. Perhaps as many as half don't wash enough.
STUDIES LINK HANDWASHING, SURFACE DISINFECTION AND IMPROVED ATTENDANCE
Other studies at schools (conducted by groups like Boston Children's Hospital for one) have shown that absenteeism can be cut from 33 to 50% by promoting hand washing and hand sanitizing protocols in schools, combined with common-surface disinfection procedures (like desktop disinfection) performed on a daily basis. One format involves students using disinfectant wipes to clean their own desks at the end of the day, distributed by the teacher. Other formats involve specialized desktop disinfection tool kits that allow custodians to move rapidly through a classroom.
Hand washing however, is just part of the story. Thinking about when to wash is just as important as reminding students or employees to wash. Kids may be ready to wash, but often are not thinking about all the places they come in contact with germs. So they may have the skills and desire, but not be aware of all the times when washing or sanitizing would help protect their health.
START A MINOR REVOLUTION WITH MAJOR IMPLICATIONS
To assist in modifying hand washing behavior, we offer a poster to encourage the specific type of thinking that leads to more-frequent washing. It is oriented toward K-12 school systems, but is also applicable to business and industry. The poster lists 15 great times to wash, sometimes before an activity and sometimes after. There is also a small section on the poster encouraging lowering infection rates by cleaning and disinfecting common touchpoints.
To get started, order a 20-poster pack for your school for just $40 (plus shipping). Post in restrooms, cafeterias, gyms, entry doors and break areas. Each index-stock poster is 11" x 17". Then have 5-minute discussions in first hour about ideas students may have for good times to wash and techniques.