Schools are full of kids…and germs. But where are the germiest places inside a school?
Bathroom doors. On the way into the bathroom, all the children push open the door with hands that haven’t yet been washed. Then, on the way out, they push the door open again (with hands that may or may not have been washed). While the inside of the bathroom is cleaned and disinfected on a daily basis, the door probably isn’t.
Desks and shared classroom equipment. Students spend the majority of the school day sitting at their desks. They are sitting at their desk when they sneeze and cough. Throughout the day, many students probably touch the desk, adding to the multitude of germs your child is touching each time he puts his hands on his desk. Shared equipment, such as pencil sharpeners, are also high on the germ list, because these items are usually not remembered when cleaning and disinfecting classrooms.
Art supplies. Most students have their own pens and pencils during regular class time. But during art class, supplies are shared. That means hundreds of students are touching the crayons, paintbrushes and other supplies, and each one leaves some germs behind.
Water fountains. Think about it: a child stops, touches the water fountain and then puts their mouth on it. This happens over and over, hundreds of times each day. Make sure to teach kids to keep their mouth off the spout. Letting the water run for a few seconds before taking a drink can also minimize your child’s exposure to germs.
Cafeteria trays. Like art supplies, cafeteria trays are used by hundreds of kids. Most times, the trays are used, quickly wiped down and then set back out for the next round of students to come into the lunchroom. By the end of lunch periods, the trays probably have layers of germs. Sending hand sanitizer for your child to use after lunch can help reduce the germs left on their hands.
The cold virus can stay active on a surface for three hours. Anytime you have a large amount of people, such as children in school, you will have germs spread from one person to another through touching objects. The best way to combat sharing germs is to teach your children to regularly wash their hands with soap and water for at least 30 seconds, and also to use hand sanitizer when washing hands isn’t possible.
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Eileen Bailey is a freelance health writer. She is the author of What Went Right: Reframe Your Thinking for a Happier Now, Idiot’s Guide to Adult ADHD, Idiot’s Guide to Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Essential Guide to Overcoming Obsessive Love, and Essential Guide to Asperger’s Syndrome. She can be found on Twitter @eileenmbailey and on Facebook at eileenmbailey.