Everyone must be able to access liquid soap and warm water says guidance
The UK Government is advocating a “proactive and preventive approach” in schools and nurseries in order to control and prevent infection spread according to guidance published a couple of months ago.
Preventing and controlling infections advises that “Infection prevention and control measures aim to interrupt the chain of transmission.” Effective hand washing is vitally important when it comes to halting the spread of illness – and soap and water washing should be taught by staff in all settings.
“Hand hygiene is one of the most important ways of controlling the spread of infections, especially those that cause diarrhoea or vomiting and respiratory infections.”
Washing facilities must be available for all
The guidance stresses the importance of hand washing with liquid soap, warm water and paper towels and “all individuals” must have access to such facilities. Bar soap should be avoided.
Alcohol hand gels, which can be useful under certain circumstances, nonetheless do not enable effective hand cleansing under two very important sets of circumstances – where only a soap and water wash will do.
- If hands are visibly dirty, and
- “Alcohol hand gel is not effective against organisms that cause gastroenteritis, such as norovirus.”
Teaching when and how to wash hands is important says the guidance. Such times include before eating or coming into contact with food, after going to the toilet, when returning from playtime and after touching animals.
Resources for teachers of 3 to 16 years old
The update also refers to resources that have been developed by the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA). Called eBug its stated aim is to “promote positive behaviour change among children and young people to support infection prevention and control efforts, and to respond to the global threat of antimicrobial resistance.”
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