Washing their hands of it at P.S. 215

December 28, 2011 Denise Romano
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It’s nothing to sneeze at.

Dr. Jason Perlman, of Maimonides Medical Center, spoke to thirdgraders at P.S. 215 about the importance of washing hands and tipson how to prevent influenza at a special assembly on December14.

It’s really important for kids to have tips on stayinghealthy, said Antonella Bove, the principal of the Avenue Sschool. Especially with the winter coming, kids get colds and it’simportant for them not to spread germs to one another. You have tobe proactive.

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Perlman, who specializes in treating children with infections,gave some easy-to-remember tips on how to keep hands clean. Forexample, alcohol-based hand scrubs, like Purell, are the best waysto disinfect – even better than antibacterial soap and water.

According to Perlman, one nurse during an eight-hour shiftspends almost an hour washing hands. If sanitizer is used instead,that time is reduced to about 20 minutes.

I didn’t know antibacterial soap was not the best choice, saidArianna Sterlacci after the talk. Now I will make better choices.The alcohol takes away all of the germs.

Her classmate, Angela Rotondi, agreed. I thought plain soap wasthe best kind to use, she said. Now I know to use hand sanitizerinstead.

Perlman also talked about the influenza virus. The best way toprevent it is hand washing and a flu shot – since sneezes travelfaster than a car, but not quite as fast as a plane.

The problem is, kids get new flus first because their bodydoesn’t know as many flu viruses, he explained. Your body isn’tfamiliar with them as older people are. The big problem is, yourparents get it and bring it to work with them and it really spreadsfast.

Since most flus occur in February, there is still time toprevent it, Perlman said. For every 100 kids, 28 get the flu ifthey don’t get the vaccine, he added.

At the end of the talk, students were given Maimonidesbackpacks.

Arianna Sterlacci learned an important lesson that morning. Ifyou have germs on your hands, you can pass them to someone else,she said.

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