Teaching Kids Hand Washing Habits to Avoid Flu

A new study, presented at the American Public Health Association’s Annual Meeting & Exposition in Washington, D.C. shows that with a little effort, kids can be taught to make hand-washing a lifetime habit.
A sample of 492 children in grades 1 through 6 was coached by a teacher, with role-playing and education on hand hygiene and a visual demonstration of its effectiveness. The coaching resulted in a lasting increase in the frequency of hand hygiene among elementary school-aged children.
The researchers suggest that with parent volunteers and the limited funds available, the school nurse could train the volunteers to teach a hand hygiene method, using germ-simulating lotion. The teachers could then prompt students to wash their hands before lunch, setting the example by washing their own hands.
"With flu season right around the corner, now is a great time to be having a conversation about what schools can do to encourage kids to develop the habit of washing their hands," said Michelle Snow, RN, MSPH, SHR, lead researcher on the study. "Our research shows that for a very low cost and just a little bit of effort, we can have an impact on a behavior that is important for our children’s health, not just now, but throughoutmtheir lives."
Source: American Public Health Association (APHA)

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