Washing Hands to Avoid Flu - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

10/22/04

Washing Hands to Avoid Flu

Morgan King dries her hands. Morgan King dries her hands.

Germs spread very quickly in schools, so one Savannah school is taking a hands-on approach to preventing the flu by teaching students how to wash their hands the right way.

Before they march to lunch and dig into their spaghetti, May Howard Elementary kindergarteners are hitting the soap, with good reason.

"There are germs everywhere," said school nurse Lynne Steinfeld.

Steinfeld has been giving five- and six-year-olds a lesson in flu self-defense: proper hand washing. "That is the single best way to avoid transmission," she said.

They soap up their hands and sing happy birthday to themselves, giving them a good ten seconds of cleaning. After rinsing, they use their paper towels to turn off the faucet, and then throw them in the trash.

Five-year-old Morgan King knows when to wash: "Anytime you are fixing to do something." And she knows what the flu is: "It's a sick thing that makes you sick."

These little girls and guys are learning the right way to wash their hands in school, and bringing that knowledge back home. But moms and dads, while you may think you know what you are doing, every time you pick up the soap or don't pick it up, they are watching.

"My mama washes her hands for two seconds," said Ashley Frehse, 5. "And my daddy never washes his hands."

"I've had a few parents call and say, 'What did you do to my child? They told me I was washing my hands wrong, and now we are doing it right,'" said Steinfeld.

Teachers, who are around children all the time, are using antibacterial alcohol rubs on their hands as well.

Reported by: Don Logana, dlogana@wtoc.com

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