Keeping your hands clean is among the most effective ways to prevent illness, and that message was reinforced recently at Golden Hill Elementary during National Handwashing Awareness Week.
The week-long emphasis on proper hand hygiene aims to protect children and the community from diseases such as the flu. The majority of communicable diseases are spread by coughs and sneezes that contaminate surfaces, such as desks and doorknobs, that we touch. The disease enters our body when we then touch our eyes, nose or mouth with our hand.
The students learned the Four Principals of Hand Awareness, which are endorsed by the American Medical Association and the American Academy of Family Physicians. They are:
- Wash your hands when they are dirty and before eating.
- Do not cough into your hands
- Do not sneeze into your hands
- Above all, do not put your fingers in your eyes, nose, or mouth.
Confirmed cases of influenza have already been documented in Orange County. Symptoms may be mild but there is the potential for serious illness, especially for children younger than age 2 years and for children with chronic health conditions.
It is recommended that everyone age six months and older receive the seasonal flu vaccine. Contact your healthcare provider for further guidance and ask about the immunization schedule for their office.
Please do not send your child to school with signs of Influenza Like Illness (ILI). The Orange County Department of Heath defines these symptoms as a fever of 100 degrees or greater and cough and sore throat in the absence of another cause.
Children should stay home for at least 24 hours after they are fever-free without the use of fever reducing medicines such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen. If ill, children should not attend group activities outside of school.
Everyone needs to support these public health initiatives that are in place to reduce the spread of illness in our schools and community.
Thank you for your cooperation!
Marlene Lysack, R.N.
Golden Hill Elementary School Nurse