HSE Issues Disease Prevention Advice For Children

The Health Service Executive has launched a schools resource pack to help prevent the spread of infectious diseases among children.

Young children, especially those at school age, are at an increased risk of contracting an infectious disease for various reasons, mainly that they tend to sneeze and cough into their own hands, are grouped together with others, have weaker immune systems and personal habits such as thumb sucking that can spread germs.

In a bid to halt the spread of diseases the HSE has distributed informative posters to all schools as part of a resource pack.

Teaching children to sneeze and cough into their arm or elbow is critical to improving respiratory hygiene and in reducing the spread of infection. Having access to tissues is also important so children can learn to 'catch it, bin it, kill it.'

Bacteria and viruses from hundreds of homes meet at crèches, schools and day-care centres every day. It is a fact that the ten best things to spread bugs amongst children are the ten fingers on their hands.

The posters have versions for primary schools and secondary schools and both are also available in Irish and English. They are aimed at assisting teachers and crèches to teach some of the key respiratory hygiene messages.

A range of useful online resources for teachers and parents are also available on e-Bug, a free educational resource for classroom and home use. It enables fun and accessible learning for all students around micro-organisms, the spread, prevention and treatment of infection.

Dr John Cuddihy, Interim Director at the HSE HPSC said: "It is so important that we do everything to protect children's health. Teaching respiratory etiquette and hand hygiene will help stop infections in schools and home. Good respiratory and hand hygiene can help parents reduce the risk of having to stay home from work due to their child's or their own illness. However if you are sick it is important to stay home from work or school. The HSE website Undertheweather.ie has lots of help and advice on managing simple illnesses at home."


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