Washing the germs away

Di has been working hard to teach her students about the importance of hand-washing. Find out how she has got on.

Di Harrill, head of personal, social and health education at Newent Community School

Children have, on average, six to 10 colds a year. That’s a lot of sneezing and coughing.

If a child with the sniffles doesn’t wash their hands after they have sneezed, they will probably have infectious germs on their hands. They will then share these germs with any surface, or person they touch.  

This is why teaching children how to wash their hands properly is so important. It is a key way to reduce the spread of colds and other infections.

We have been working with Public Health England’s e-Bug team to run a series of workshops. The children learn about germs, how they spread and why hygiene is important. We also discuss drug resistance, explaining how reducing the spread of infections will mean we do not need to take as many antibiotics, which will help to protect these medicines.

So far, our students have been given the chance to learn about microbes, bacteria and resistance to antibiotics in a fun and practical way.

Some of the students have become ambassadors, sharing what they have learnt with their friends and classmates. Children often see one another as a trusted role model, so we find this form of ‘peer education’ is very effective. It also helps us as their teachers to assess their level of knowledge and confidence.

Adam Rowley, aged 12, was a student at Newent Community School, he said: “I enjoyed e-bug and I liked telling the other students what I had learnt. I felt a sense of pride. I also enjoyed interacting with the audience and the primary school, Picklenash. As well as the teachers from Picklenash who watched and listened to what we were saying. Overall I thoroughly enjoyed it, and very much recommend it to the year sevens that will be involved next year.”

The e-Bug workshops have made a real difference at our school. It really works for us, it is enjoyed by students and teachers alike. And we were thrilled to be nominated for the 2017 National Antibiotic Guardian Awards for our use of peer-to-peer learning.

I would highly recommend e-Bug to teachers who are looking for a way to explain how infections spread, and why washing our hands can help to fight antibiotic resistance.

Interested in knowing more about hand-hygiene, how it can prevent the spread of infections and help us in the fight against antibiotic resistance? Take a look at our news story

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