Tifton Gazette

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January 29, 2014

It’s cold and flu season: Handwashing makes a difference

TIFTON —

Tift County parents may notice their children are putting more time and effort into washing their hands. The newly-adopted improved hand-washing techniques are thanks to University of Georgia Extension and the “birthday song.”

Last school year more than 1,700 first and second grade students participated in hand-washing seminars led by Roxie Price, a Tift County Family and Consumer Sciences Extension agent. She uses the guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to teach the classes and has high hopes for how the seminars will impact the schools.

“The kids don’t miss as many days of school; therefore, their learning is not getting impaired,” Price said.

She says the seminars benefit the schools and parents financially, too. Children are less likely to become sick, therefore, not requiring medicines and parents don’t have to miss work because their child is ill.

Each seminar begins with a test of the children’s confidence in their current hand washing routines. The children are asked to rub on white lotion and place their hands under a black light. The glowing lotion is referred to as “germs,” which makes the children eager to wash their hands.

When the children return from washing their hands, they place their hands under the black light again to see if any “germs” remain. “It’s a really neat technique to show where you may be missing when you’re scrubbing your hands,” Price said.

Children do not seem to lose interest once the seminar is over, either. They continue to remind each other of the proper procedure throughout the school year in what Price refers to as a “group mentality.”

So what is this effective hand washing procedure?

According to the CDC, you should: wet hands, run clean, warm water over hands, apply soap, lather hands by rubbing them together and in between fingers, scrub hands for at least 20 seconds and rinse and dry with a disposable towel.

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