Back to school: how common childhood viruses are almost always defeated by soap

A preshool teacher showing kids how to wash hands with a KiddiWash

Why you should place the emphasis on hand washing as kids return after the summer

With younger children returning to schools and nurseries now that the holidays are over, it’s time to reinforce the hand washing message with them – to make sure that they know how to wash their hands properly with soap and water. To ensure that they are also able to recognise when to wash, and how long to wash for.

A number of potential illnesses circulating at this time of year – such as flu and the seemingly ever-present COVID-19, have been joined by a seeming increase the number of E.Coli* outbreaks in recent weeks.

This has prompted a recent call by Popular Science to reiterate the importance of the good old soap and water wash.

Author Jeanette Beebe observes that younger children get more illnesses, because “their immune system is naive in comparison to an adult”. Then they get better. Then “it’s on to the next bug.”

Beebe looks at the risks, preventions and remedies for a number of likely illnesses: influenza for example, can present problems for infants and toddlers who she describes as being “especially at risk.”

Washing hands frequently and well is important says the article. “Do it often—probably more often than you think you need to.”

When is comes to the common cold, there isn’t a vaccine, so the only reliable self defence mechanism is effective hand hygiene.

“We do have the power of soap, of course. Wash your hands often, and help your kids do the same.”

*Norovirus (E.Coli) – this is another preschool health risk, says the report, that can only be controlled by soap and water washing.

“The virus spreads through contaminated foods, water, and surfaces, so make sure to wash your hands, especially before touching food!”

Why soap and water washing is best

Hand gels are the “backup option” when it comes to effective hand hygiene – a solution that comes in handy when soap and water isn’t available. A previous article Hand washing trumps sanitizer when it comes to beating viruses explained the benefits of the latter when compared to the former.

The soap and water method doesn’t kill bacteria – the washing process lifts away dirt, oil, and other dangerous agents that get on your hands. Sanitizer, says the report, “doesn’t remove anything: It only disinfects bacteria and viruses and can leave pesticides or spores on your hands.”

“Washing away the coronavirus might not sound as violent as stopping it dead in its tracks, but it’s proven to be more effective, especially for pathogens wrapped up in mucus.”

The back-to-school guide for fighting common viruses »

Younger children washing hands with a KiddiSynk at a preschool
Younger children washing hands with a KiddiSynk at a preschool

Hand wash units for children – place them wherever they’re needed!

Teal produces portable hand washing sinks that are idea for preschool and nursery children including the KiddiSynk and KiddiWash, which can be used equally effectively indoor or out.

The Teal range of mobile sinks includes the MediWashHygienius and Hygienius ProWashBigSynkSuper StalletteTEALwashHandeman XtraCompact ClassicHandSpa, CliniWash – and now the new WashStand Xtra.

How to choose the correct mobile sink »