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Flu season myths and tips for parents, students, and staff

We are beginning to move into cold and flu season. Campuses are fighting bacteria at the front door. Believe it or not, viruses are actually weak without a host and cannot live on hard surfaces for more than half a day. So in many cases, after everyone leaves a campus after school, by the time of arrival the next morning the building is actually germ-free! Our best defense during the school day is simply to wash our hands often. Staff and teachers are mandating that children being dropped off at the cafeteria wash their hands before eating, when entering a classroom first thing in the morning, and before snacks and lunch. Not only is this promoting good hygiene but it's also guaranteed to lower sickness absences. We all must do our part to keep everyone healthy this winter season. 

There are some myths about colds that you may not have been aware of. 

  • You can't catch a cold from going outside in the cold
  • You can't catch a cold from getting your head wet
  • You can't catch a cold from being cold
  • You catch a cold from a virus.

Flu Prevention for Schools

Here are a few facts that will better help you to implement your flu prevention procedure plan:

 What campuses need to do:

  • Make announcements several times a day regarding the washing of hands. This is number one action that the CDC will recommend. University studies show us that 77% of men do not wash their hands upon leaving a restroom so it stands to reason that kids will not either J. Please try and implement teacher monitoring of restrooms between classes to help make sure that hand washing is happening. It’s a huge part of reducing the spread of any virus.
  • Use sanitizing wipes in the classrooms between students. This is important because once a disinfectant is dry it is no longer able to work. For example:  Wipe down a surface and then someone coughs or gets sick on the surface, we would then have to disinfect it all over again. There are simply no residues that stay behind and kill germs after the disinfectant has dried. Cleaning and sanitizing every desktop in a school once a day is a tremendous task, much less trying to do it between every class. Since these are the facts regarding the limitations of disinfectants, we must ask for the teachers and in some cases, the students help in sanitizing the desktops after each class. This is where the Sani-hands for Kids is an important tool. Just until you get past the flu season. It is not cost-effective to try to use the disposable sanitizing wipes throughout the school year.

Probably one of the most frequent questions asked: “Do we need to disinfect or sanitize the entire school?”

The answer is simply no! The reason for this is listed in the above paragraph regarding how disinfectants actually work. People and how they interact with other people are the common denominator for passing viruses to others. The facts tell us that 90% of all common influenza “A” cannot survive without a host for more 8 to 12 hours. This means that by the time school starts the next day, there is no threat. For this reason, it is best to pay close attention to high traffic surfaces and where the kids gather between class periods. These gathering points of the kids change depending on the grade levels and schools that you are dealing with. Look for locations within the school where kids gather between class periods and then target the surfaces in these particular areas. This will allow you to isolate the most soiled and infected areas between class periods. Concentrate on the rest of the facility after the school day is over.  

  • Here are some high traffic surfaces:
    • Benches
    • Doorknobs
    • Commonly used Telephones
    • Handrails
    • Countertops
    • Desktops
    • Drinking Fountains

It is important to note that all the districts are having illness issues at this time. It is just a bad flu season this year and it is lasting about a week or two in most cases.