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"We all have a high concentration of bacteria in our mouths, depending on foods you eat, your genes and status of your oral hygiene." "Germ-free lesson: Never text while eating or using the toilet. Plus, it kills or inactivates those that land on surfaces. Drinking out of a water fountain could put you at risk for norovirus, a highly contagious virus characterized by nausea, stomach pain, vomiting, and diarrhea, says Schmidt. Yes, kids are eating off surfaces infested with heterotrophic bacteria and coliforms (microbes found in the intestines of humans and other animals). "You're moving bacteria from the surface you have just touched to the keys or screen. As if the computer lab wasn't bad enough, desktops are even worse, says Gerba. The best way to combat sharing germs is to teach your children to regularly wash their hands with soap and water for at least 30 seconds, and also to use hand sanitizer when washing hands isn’t possible. Eileen Bailey is an award-winning author of six books on health and parenting topics and freelance writer specializing in health topics including ADHD, Anxiety, Sexual Health, Skin Care, Psoriasis and Skin Cancer. Going back to school often triggers the spread of illness, as kids who've been off for summer or winter breaks return with germs that get transmitted to classmates, says Ted Myatt, a senior scientist at Environmental Health & Engineering and biological safety officer at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston. Sack lunches, which "typically spoil before lunchtime," Rotbart says. ). "Our studies, which were conducted in actual classrooms in 2009, have found that an average desktop harbors 400 times more bacteria than the average toilet seat." Wash hands vigorously using warm water and soap for 20 seconds (the time it takes to sing the "Happy Birthday" song twice or to recite the alphabet), says Gerba. The germiest place found by the University of Arizona study, led by Dr. Charles Gerba, was none other than the very place where school kids eat — the school cafeteria. Cafeteria trays. There is also another way to cut down on germs by installing new water fountains. You may have the best little hand washers in town. In a recent study of germs in schools by NSF International, you would be horrified at the germ comparison in several different areas in the schools monitored. If the tines point downward so you're grabbing the end of them, it should be safe unless the person who placed them in the bins touched the tines first. So how often are you paying attention to and sanitizing/disinfecting your water fountains? Anaerobic bacteria are bacteria that do not live or grow in the presence of oxygen. Art supplies. Poor classroom ventilation is a common problem and exposes kids to contaminants in the air, says Myatt. If there's an odor, they likely need a good scrub, preferably with an over-the-counter mouthwash, says Schmidt. That’s kind a gross. We are bringing this information to your attention so you can make sure your school is taking all sanitary measures to keep the spread of germs to a minimum. In you think about it, your bottom and back of legs are shielded by you pants and underwear all day long. In the cafeteria, the biggest threat may not be the kid that wants to eat your French fries or what is truly inside a hotdog. The FDA has specific regulations on food service sanitization between how to dry trays, utensils, etc to how frequently you need to drain and refill the sink during washing, and so forth. Kids are constantly getting drinks at the water fountain. Schools can do their part by trying to clean more thoroughly. Wipe down the device regularly with antibacterial wipes. But where are the germiest places inside a school? I think we take for granted our perception plates, utensils, and trays are clean. And reigning in at #1 and #2 are…. Indiana Public Media is the home of WFIU Public Radio WTIU Public Television, including your favorite programming from NPR and PBS. Contrary to common belief, you don't need to get on a cruise ship to get norovirus. Kids are using the same hand on the mouse that they use throughout the day to grab door handles, rub their noses, even wipe themselves. Choose plastic-wrapped utensils if available.Germ-free lesson: When opening utensils packaged in plastic, pull them out by the handle rather than plunging the end you place in your mouth through the soiled edge of the packaging, says Schmidt. Pack food that needs to be refrigerated in an insulated lunch box with frozen blue ice packs, and freeze any juice boxes. Students spend the majority of the school day sitting at their desks. At the bottom of the list with least amount of germs were animal cages, student’s hands, keyboards and toilet seats. Top Germ Hotspots. They get cleaned, but not always well enough, and so germs accumulate. ReadySpace Carpet Cleaning – Dry in Minutes, Envirox – Achieve Absolute Simplicity and Savings, Get Unplugged – Cleanmax Cordless Vacuums, Revolutionizing the Cleaning Industry – Electrostatic Sprayers, What Machines and Products to Use This Summer, 4 Units to Give You Power When You Need It Most, Mi-T-M Pressure Washers – Best in Industry, The 2020 Election’s Impact on the Cleaning Industry, Continued Education Makes for Better Businesses. Any microorganisms on kids' hands get spread to the monkey bars, the slide, the teeter totter, etc. 2. Popping a mouth guard or retainer into your mouth without washing it invites trouble, says Schmidt. Where Germs Lurk in Grade School Scientists in Michigan have set out to determine the "germiest" surfaces and crevices inside elementary schools. in. "And the signs that say no eating or drinking? At least that's what I think is happening. In 2010, scientists from the University of Arizona swabbed six K-12 schools to find out where the germs were congregating. It's probably the school bathrooms that are the problem spots for germs, right? Students then touch their desktops and take those germs home to Mom. Public pools, by state or municipal statute, are required to check water safety as well, says Schmidt.Germ-free lesson: Showering with soap removes any residual microbes that may have stuck to you while swimming, says Schmidt. Keep in mind that approximately 80 million Americans get food poisoning each year, and most of the microbes are transferred fecal-orally (fecal matter taken into the mouth via contaminated food or fingers), says Schmidt.Germ-free lesson: Wash your hands before and after using the computer lab, or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Ozone vs Hydroxyls – What’s the Real Deal? If more kids bring their own drinking bottles, less will use the public part of the drinking fountain thus creating less germs. The keyboard, mouse, touch pad or touch screen should all be considered a reservoir of bacteria and fungi, says Schmidt. That means hundreds of students are touching the crayons, paintbrushes and other supplies, and each one leaves some germs behind. These special fountains have a bottle filler section where kids can put their drinking bottle under a 2nd spigot and fill their personal drinking bottle.

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