Wash your hands after recess in schools

Washing your hands after recess helps significantly reduce the bacterial load on children’s hands and minimizes the risk of infections.

Many children associate the moment of the shower with the act followed by returning home from the park.
How many times have we heard that “shake your shoes before entering the house” or “wash your hands before dinner.”
Parents understand that children arrive “dirty” from the park and that, in case of not washing their hands, they are increasing the probability of infection.
But does the same thing happen in schools? Are children forced to wash their hands after recess?
Many times, the lack of time or the fact that there are many children to be responsible for is accused.
But these are not enough excuses to skip hand washing after recess.

How many bacteria do children’s hands contain after recess?
How to encourage hand washing after recess?
What products are needed to wash your hands in schools?

How many bacteria do children’s hands contain after recess?

The microbiologist Tasha Sturm, from Cabrillo College, wanted to check how many bacteria the hands of her son contained after playing in the garden.
So, when the boy returned, he placed the child’s hand on a previously sterilized Petri dish.
After keeping the plate for a day in an incubator with body temperature (approximately 37 ° C) and subsequently leaving the plate at room temperature, the result was as follows:

Millions of bacteria were identified in his son’s hand, mostly bactos, but also staphylococci and micrococci.
And although most of these bacteria are found in different parts of our body and it is usual and natural to be exposed to them, it is also important to remember that they pose a potential risk when it comes to causing infections and that hand washing has the ability to Reduce this risk considerably.
How to encourage hand washing after recess?
From the year of age, children learn to wash their hands and after approximately three years, they are able to perform this action on their own, with supervision and with the appropriate means.
When we talk about adequate means, we refer to the fact that soap and paper dispensers and faucets are available to children.
Remember that the dispensers are better placed below 150 centimeters of the ground, which is what we are used to, so that both children and people with reduced mobility can make more comfortable use of them.

According to a prevalence study published by Pediatrics, washing hands with soap and water reduces the risk of respiratory infections in children by 21%, while the use of hand sanitizers reduces it by 31%.

What products are needed to wash your hands in schools?
As in any other space, we will provide the bathrooms of the school with soap dispensers, to be able to be with foam loads and automatic dispensing, to avoid the risk of cross contamination.
And we will set aside the air dryers to use paper towel dispensers. In this article you can see how the latter method reduces bacterial contamination.
And finally, we will place hydroalcoholic gel dispensers for hand disinfection. But remember that this step should always be complementary to washing with soap and water.

In total, the washing process should last between 40 and 60 seconds.
And remember that hand hygiene should not only be carried out after recess between classes, but also during school lunch time.