New posters reminding children about the importance of hand hygiene have been distributed to all schools in the country.
The posters were developed by the HSE's Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC), with different versions for primary and secondary schools. Their aim is to assist teachers to teach their students some of the key hand hygiene messages.
"It is so important that we do everything to protect children's health. Teaching hand hygiene will help reduce the spread of infections, including COVID-19, in schools and homes. Good respiratory and hand hygiene can also help parents reduce the risk of having to stay home from work due to their child's or their own illness," commented Dr John Cuddihy, interim director of the HPSC.
Meanwhile, the HSE's national lead for infection control, Prof Martin Cormican, emphasised the importance of children going to school and spending time with other children "for normal healthy development".
"We can't avoid all the risk that bugs will spread when children are being children, but we can make that risk as small as possible without spoiling all the fun and all the learning.
"As well as teaching children to cough and sneeze into their elbow or a tissue, it's important they know how to clean their hands. It's important to tell children that hand sanitiser is good for hands that look clean, but you need soap and water if you can see dirt," he explained.
Hand hygiene tips and videos are available here and the HSE also has a useful online resource for teachers and parents on how to reduce the risk of infection here.
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