Wash your hands now please! University and local primary school team up to fight spread of disease
Release Date 15 October 2013
The University of Reading and Coombes C of E Primary School in Arborfield Cross teamed up to show children how washing hands correctly can save lives and prevent diseases such as flu and norovirus.
Dr Neuman's visit to Coombes coincided with Global Handwashing Day (Tuesday 15 October) which aims to raise awareness about the benefits of washing your hands correctly. MRSA, flu, norovirus, diarrhoea and the common cold are just some of the viruses and infections passed between people who do not wash their hands.
The Health Protection Agency estimate that 1.19 million people could have contracted norovirus last winter. UNICEF estimates that diarrhea kills one child every 30 seconds. However recent studies¹ show that washing hands with soap can significantly cut the risk of disease spreading.
Dr Neuman said: "Washing your hands correctly is an easy way of stopping the spread of nasty viruses which can seriously impact on our health and health services. Children are, unwittingly of course, a major source of spreading diseases such as flu and norovirus which flourish in the winter. They come into contact with more people in a day than most, so it is vital we highlight how giving their hands a good wash they can help stop their friends and family becoming ill. I really enjoyed talking to the Coombes class who seemed to have lots of fun and asked some fantastic questions."
Dr Neuman chatted to a Coombes year two (6/7 year olds) class after which six junior children demonstrated how, if you don't wash your hands properly, germs (in this case glitter!) will stay on your hands and can be easily passed on.
Year two Coombes teacher Jo Page said: "This term is notoriously bad for bugs and although as teachers we actively encourage hand washing, it can be tricky to keep an eye out all the time. We are therefore very grateful to Ben for sparing the time to show the children in such a fun and engaging way why washing your hands correctly is very important."
¹ The simple act of washing hands with soap can significantly cut the risk of diarrhea (from 30% to 50%, Fewtrell et al., 2005), respiratory tract infection (from 21%to 45%, Curtis and Cairncross, 2003)