USA Today – Fight swine flu with good hygiene

A recent USA Today article on H1N1, or swine flu, highlights once again that the best way to prevent such diseases is through the practice of good, basic hygiene.

That is especially true in the case of schools where large numbers of children are in close contact. When exposed, those children become a reservoir for spreading the infection at home and in other settings. When I read that many schools now wipe down desks regularly, I wondered why they hadn’t been doing this already. This would prevent not only the flu, but also the spread of other viruses and germs.

As a public health professional, I know that cleaning and disinfection are always a part of a smart prevention strategy. In schools, disinfection is critically important for areas where students come into contact with contaminated surfaces, including bathroom fixtures, doorknobs, handrails, athletic equipment and desktops. Diseases can be readily transmitted via all these surfaces. The use of an effective cleaning agent followed by a proven disinfectant such as chlorine bleach after cleaning can effectively help prevent the spread of disease.

Add good hand washing with the appropriate use of hand sanitizers, and you have the recipe for healthy students and a healthy school.