I know it is hard to believe that we are in the middle of flu season since we have had a really mild winter in the south. This time of year parents have to make the decision if their child’s illness is bad enough to keep him/her home from school. Most school nurses say it is OK for children to miss school. They had rather parents keep their kids at home to prevent the germs from spreading. In an article in the Northwest Herald yesterday, it states that it’s underdstandable why parents send their children to school considering how often kids get sick. According to CDC, 22 million to 189 million school days are lost each year because of colds alone. Children average 8 colds a year.
Respiratory droplets in coughs and sneezes are easily transfered among children. Germs are spread when a person touches respiratory droplets from another person or surface and then touches their eyes, mouth or nose. Some viruses can live hours or days on surfaces such as caferteria tables, doorknobs and desks.
According to the same article in the Northwest Herald, the 5 germiest places in schools are:
The restroom. The epicenter of cross contamination. Peter Sheldon, a health based cleaning expert who speaks on the topic,says “A lot of germs start there and spread throughout the school”.
The water fountain. Can have 27 million germs per square inch.
Desktops. They hold 400 times more bacteria on average than a toilet seat. 100 times more bacteria than the kitchen table
The pencil sharpener.
The computer keyboard.
A simple uncovered sneeze in a classroom can infect many children. It can’t be eliminated 100% with the current cleaning protocol. Doorknobs would have to be cleaned everytime they are touched. A study at the University of Arizona found that wiping down desks nightly reduced absenteeism in schools by as much as 50%. But not many schools have the time or personnel to complete that task. The long term solution is education and the push for cleaner schools.