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Hand-Washing Clinics Hope to Prevent Spread of the Flu

hand-washing-clinicsHand-Washing ClinicsGrant County children received a hands-on lesson in hygiene to help prevent the spread of germs and the flu with hand washing clinics, sponsored by a partnership between the Grant County Community Health Council and Public Health Office.

Health Council's Youth and Family Community Health Advocate, Rachel Kutcher said the hand washing clinics were helpful, "because children can't see microscopic germs, they don't always understand that their hands can appear clean, but still carry germs." During the hand washing clinics, children rub a florescent lotion on their hands; wash their hands as usual, and then a florescent light reveals glowing spots children missed when washing. "Using the lotion to simulate germs on their hands helps them to see how germs stick to their skin and how easily they spread," says Kutcher.

Nurse Manager of Grant County Public Health Office, Margaret Diaz said, "Many of the children thought they did a good job washing their hands, but the glowing lotion showed them otherwise. It helps children realize they need to wash their hands longer, for the full 20 seconds recommended by the Center for Diseases Control." The CDC recommends washing your hands in warm water with soap for at least 20 seconds to prevent the spread of germs. At the demonstrations children are taught to extend their hand washing time by singing songs, like the 'ABC's' or 'Happy Birthday.' Diaz added that hand washing skills are essential because, "we have germs on our hands and constantly touch our eyes, nose and mouth, which is how germs get into our bodies and spread diseases."

Mrs. Holguin, First Grade teacher at Calvary Christian Academy, thought the hand washing clinics were wonderful "especially because it's cold and flu season."

Melissa Torres, Lucy Montoya, and Olivia McDonald, all registered nurses with the Cobre School District, were thrilled to have the clinics in their schools to remind students, "Hand washing prevents infection!"

The CDC recommends washing your hands often to prevent the spread of diseases or illness, especially after coughing or sneezing into your hands. Also the clinics remind children to wash their hands before they eat or prepare food and after using the restroom, playing with pets or returning inside after recess.

The hand washing clinic had previously taken place at the yearly Red Hot Children's Fiesta, but because of the pandemic flu concerns the Health Council and Public Health wanted to expand the outreach to include the county's public and private schools. "This is part of our community health improvement efforts to prevent illness in Grant County," said Beverly Allen-Ananins, Health Council Coordinator.

For more information on the hand washing clinics call the Health Council at 388-1198. For more information on H1N1 flu call the New Mexico Department of Health's H1N1 Hotline at 1-877-304-4161 which includes general flu information in English and Spanish, the Nurse Advise Line, immunization information, and much more.

Last Updated on Monday, 07 December 2009 01:00

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