Hand washing: how to scrub away germs

Icky, yucky, germy hands…kids can collect a whole bunch of bacteria and microorganisms that could make them sick.

"Your hands may look clean but they're not necessarily clean," said Bridget Boudreaux, Infection Prevention Manager at Lake Charles Memorial Hospital.

Kids can catch a cold or flu as they wipe their noses, rub their eyes or yawn.

"Kids hands are on everything. They're very touchy feely and tend to be carriers," explained Boudreaux.

She visited with the first graders at Immaculate Conception Cathedral School in Lake Charles to get them excited about fighting germs. Boudreaux read the kids an informative children's book that helped explain the microorganisms. Then came the fun part: the black light germ-catcher. Boudreaux called it her 'magic' box. She squirted a dollop of special fake germ lotion that illuminated under a black light. The children could see all the germs on their hands.  After the 'magic box' the students lined up for a trip to the hand washing station.

"The number one defense against infection prevention is hand washing," said Boudreaux.

She said that children and adults need to scrub for at least 15 seconds with soap, but she added many people just pass their hands under the water and go.

Hand sanitizers are on school supply lists and in many parent's arsenal, but for visible dirt Boudreaux says hand washing is the only way.

"The theory out there is that all the anti-bacterial soaps and this sort of thing is going to create resistance bugs for us," said Boudreaux. This scenario is a long shot and being smart about hand washing and hand sanitizing will not hurt, continued Boudreaux.

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