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Tackling the spread of germs in school

Posted on: Tuesday, December 1st, 2015

Germs can spread rapidly in a school environment. If steps are not taken to quickly neutralise their effect, then you could potentially have an epidemic on your hands.

It is not uncommon for illnesses such as the measles, mumps, flu, stomach bugs and rubella to spread like wildfire among primary school pupils.

While it is true that young children do often get afflicted by such diseases, especially as their immune systems are beginning to mature, there are steps that can be taken to prevent this issue from escalating unnecessarily.

In fact, educators can play an important role in helping to slow down the spread of disease and ill health in a school setting.

Research published by the Center for Disease and Control (CDC) revealed that every year, up to 20,000 children younger than five years old are admitted to hospital due to flu-related complications.

Of course, that in itself does not include the figures for those who are hospitalised due to other diseases.

In this article, we discuss some of the many ways that school administrators can tackle the spread of germs among their staff and pupils.

Stay at home

This is perhaps the most obvious one, but it is also one that is more likely to conflict against attendance policies.

Some employers measure their productivity and success by analysing their attendance rates and pressuring staff members to come in even when they are unwell.

This is despite the fact that the evidence out there shows that not only is this approach detrimental to the health and wellbeing of an organisation, it also doesn’t work.

In fact, presenteeism has been shown to be much more damaging to productivity than sick leave.

Research published by the University of East Anglia revealed that those who come into work or school despite being unwell actually experience an increase in health problems and reduced productivity.

Speaking about the study, Dr Mariella Miraglia, lead author in the study, said: "This study sheds light on the controversial act of presenteeism, uncovering both positive and negative underlying processes. It demonstrates that presenteeism is associated with work features and personal characteristics and not only dictated by medical conditions, in contrast to the main perspective of occupational medicine and epidemiology.

"Working while ill can compound the effects of the initial illness and result in negative job attitudes and withdrawal from work. However, the possible negative consequences of being absent can prompt employees to show up ill or to return to work when not totally recovered."

The same is true of attendance policies aimed at children. If children or their parents are relentlessly pursued despite being ill or encouraged to come in while unwell, then this will only encourage the spread of germs.

Cleaning

Maintaining a clean and healthy environment is another important aspect of reducing disease and ill-health. If care is not taken to eliminate toxins and pathogens from the environment then this will only help to promote the spread of bugs and germs.

This is why it is important to invest in industrial-grade cleaning for the school to ensure that strict hygiene control is facilitated within the school building.

High contact surfaces must be cleaned and surfaces disinfected regularly.

Washing hands

Encouraging staff and children to wash their hands regularly will also help to stop germs from spreading.