Tips on preventing the spread of winter bugs in colleges

December 16th, 2015 Category: Colleges and Higher Education

Winter is a time when many people fall ill with various bugs and ailments. Children are particularly vulnerable to infections as they tend to spread quickly in school environments.

Official figures show that the average child catches between eight to ten colds a year. Sore throats, coughs, vomiting and diarrhea are all-too common in the run-up to the festive season.

While it is not always possible to prevent this, there are a number of things that schools can do to reduce the risk of illness spreading among staff and students.

One of the most effective ways to do this is to ensure that the school environment is as clean and hygienic as it can be.

Germs spread very easily in public institutions because a large number of people come into contact with commonly used surfaces and equipment such as tables, computers, door handles, sports facilities and other resources.

Therefore, it stands to reason that one of the best ways to prevent epidemics from spreading within the school is to ensure that high-contact areas are cleaned regularly.

Although most schools employ a cleaner to maintain their buildings, care must be taken to pay extra-special attention to these places.

Other areas may require constant monitoring throughout the day, with any problems reported immediately to the school management team. This also includes toilets, kitchens, playgrounds, classrooms and floors. 

The quality of cleaning products used is also important. While regular cleaning is of course a necessity, the type of product used will have a great influence over the effectiveness of your cleaning regime.

Operatives should ensure that strong, industrial-grade antibacterial agents are used when cleaning surfaces.

Buying the more reputable, high quality products will naturally make more of a difference than investing in cheap, unsustainable cleaning agents.

The ventilation of the school building is also important. In the winter, it is necessary to provide a comfortable, warm working environment that is not too humid.

Humidity can create an ideal breeding grounds for germs and viruses and help germs to spread faster.

Therefore, school managers should invest in a safe and effective ventilation system that can improve air change rates, reduce humidity and retain comfortable temperatures throughout the premises.

However, many ventilation systems can in themselves help to increase the spread of disease, if they are not maintained and cleaned out adequately.

Care must also be taken to ensure that manufacturers instructions are followed correctly.

If you notice that a child is unwell, then steps must be taken firstly to notify the parents and ensure that a school nurse is on hand to advise on what steps to take to reduce the spread of disease.

Another common way that infections spread is via allergens and dust mites. Although to an extent, ventilation can be effective in reducing these types of pathogens in the air, it is also important to make sure that all surfaces, including ceilings, walls, furniture, equipment, upholstery and floors are dusted as well as cleaned.