The last few days, I’ve been doing research on germs (ewwwww) and bacteria and the like. I am officially considering germaphobia as a life choice. Although, really, that seems like a lot more effort that I would want to put forth. Anyways, here is some of what I’ve learned. (Those with children in school may not want to read the following.)
Forty percent of parents say that they have sent their children sick to school in the last year. That is a lot of sick kids running around in school. In fact, in Minnesota, where we are located, thirty-two schools have reported outbreaks of influenza-like illness in the last week alone. That includes only cases of illness that were reported. There have also been more than thirty hospitalizations and one death in MN in the last week due to the flu. In a report from England, the median length of stay in a hospital for influenza was over 10 days. Ten days of serious hospitalization! In the US, thirty-five percent of children under five who contract the flu suffer from serious complications.
The average American child will have 6.5 colds a year, and each will last three to five days. One person each second catches the common cold in the US alone. Children are more than twice as likely as adults to contract a cold. This is because as adults, we have had many of these strains of colds before and our bodies have immunities built up. We don’t get sick as often, because we got sick a lot in the past.
Parents – ready for the scary stuff?
Seventy percent of classrooms are not regularly disinfected by custodians. Classrooms are the number one workplace for germs. Contrary to popular belief, floors and toilets are some of the cleanest surfaces in school. The yuckiest include desktops, paper towel dispensers, water fountains, and computers. A keyboard actually has on average three times the concentration of bacteria as an animal cage. Bacteria found on the above listed surfaces include high concentrations of e. coli, pneumonia, streptococcus, salmonella, and staph. Some of these bacteria can live for days and even grow if left unchecked. Even disinfecting can be tricky, as the more effective products must be left on a surface for approximately ten minutes - hardly practical on computer equipment and between classes. And its important to disinfect throughout the day when items are in use almost constantly; tests have shown that germs build rapidly throughout the day,. In one tested environment, influenza A was found on 13% of surfaces in the morning and on 50% by afternoon. An even more startling statistic – at least for me: only 58% of girls and 48% of boys in high school wash their hands after using the lavatory.
Are you as freaked out as I am?
Some solutions include seals for keyboards and mice that can be sanitized, placing hand sanitizer at every doorway in schools, and washing, washing, washing of hands.