FNP Connection Washing Away The Germs

Mary L. Johnson, Cheek, Quincy L.  |  6/28/2005 7:52:12 PM

Quincy Cheek, Grant Parish agent, demonstrates hand washing.

Mary Johnson, nutrition educator from Rapides Parish, helps a child use the hand washing kit.

With the assistance of Quincy Cheek, assistant agent in Grant Parish, and Mary Johnson, FNP nutrition educator in Rapides Parish, children in day-care centers and schools are taught the importance of hand washing to prevent the spread of germs.

FNP nutrition educators present hand washing training  using the Glo Germ™ kit at community outreach locations.

The Glo Germ™ Kit contains a bottle of liquid or gel, a bottle of powder and an ultra-violet lamp. The liquid or gel and the powder contain the plastic simulated germs, and the lamp illuminates them to test the effectiveness  practices.

For hand washing training, Glo Germ™ Liquid is rubbed onto the hands like lotion. For surface cleaning, dust Glo Germ™ Powder onto surfaces and generally throughout the entire area. Then wash your hands or clean the area as you normally do. Your hands and the surfaces appear clean; however, the ultra-violet light tells a different story. The discovery of the remaining germs will cast a new light on your cleaning effectiveness. More information on the Glo Germ Kit can be obtained at http://www.glogerm.com/.

Five basic steps to proper handwashing are:
1.    Wet hands with water and then add soap.
2.    Use friction to work up lather and wash hands for at least 20  
       seconds.
3.    Rinse well under a stream of water.
4.    Dry hands thoroughly, with a single-use paper towel whenever 
       possible.
5.    Turn off a faucet with a paper towel, if possible.

When done correctly, hand washing is the single most effective way to prevent the spread of communicable diseases.

Why is handwashing so important?

Washing your hands and your kids’ hands is the best thing you can do to stop the spread of germs. The moment you finish washing your hands, you start to collect germs again by opening doors, wiping faces, playing with children’s toys and changing diapers. You cannot avoid collecting germs, but you can reduce the chance of infecting others by knowing when to wash your hands.

The most important thing that you can do to keep from getting sick is to wash your hands. By frequently washing your hands, you wash away germs you have picked up from other people, from contaminated surfaces or from animals and animal waste.

Children in diapers present special challenges for other children and as well as for child-care providers. According to some studies: Diarrhea is 30 percent more common in day-care children than children cared for at home, and day-care workers have higher rates of diarrheal illness. Hand washing is especially important for people to avoid contracting E. coli, flu and the common cold.

Encourage children to wash hands before eating, after playing outdoors or playing with pets, after using the bathroom and after blowing their noses. Even though hands might look clean, they often carry germs or microorganisms capable of causing disease.

Don't assume that kids know how to wash their hands properly. Showing and helping them, especially in a day-care setting, is the best way to form good habits in children.

For additional information on hand washing, contact the LSU AgCenter or, locally in Rapides Parish, contact Mary Johnson, nutrition educator at (318) 767-3968. In Grant Parish, contact Quincy Cheek at (318) 627-5039.

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