In this activity, students will experience just how easily germs can spread around the class, and then follow-up with a test to see how well they wash their hands.
We're familiar with the fact that hand-washing helps to prevent the spread of germs that cause disease and respiratory infections, like colds and flues, but do we really have an idea of just how easily germs can spread?
A germ is a general term for microorganisms, too small to see without magnification, which invade humans, and other living hosts, and cause infections or disease. Germ is used as a a collective term for bacteria and viruses. These organisms cause disease when they enter a host and reproduce in too large a numbers. A disease is defined as a disorder of structure or function in a human, animal, or plant, especially one that produces specific signs or symptoms or that affects a specific location and is not simply a direct result of physical injury.
Respiratory diseases, like influenza (flu) and colds, are spread by liquid droplets that come out of the mouth and nose when a person coughs, sneezes, or sprays while talking. These droplets usually land no more than 1-2 metres away, and most often on the person themselves. Infections can occur and spread if these droplets with germs enter the another person through touching the eyes, nose or throat.
Germs can also spread by contact contamination. If droplets are left on objects and surfaces after an infected person sneezes, coughs on, or touches them, other people may become infected by touching these objects or surfaces, and then touching their eyes, nose or mouth.
To prevent contamination and possible infection, it is recommend you cough or sneeze into your arm or a tissue, and wash your hands regularly.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Using soap and water is the single most effective way of reducing the spread of germs.
- If soap and water are not available, alcohol based hand rubs (ABHR) can be used to clean your hands as long as your hands are not visibly soiled. If they are visibly soiled, use a wipe, and then ABHR to effectively clean them.