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HANDS UP FOR HEALTH

- Infection Control Week Highlights the Importance of Proper Handwashing to Prevent the Spread of Illness -

‘Health is in your hands’ is an important message being shared with local pre-schoolers, all in a bid to reduce the spread of illnesses.

To teach children why handwashing is important, the Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit has circulated colouring sheets to dozens of daycares in Northumberland County, Haliburton County and the City of Kawartha Lakes. The colouring sheet depicts a smiling young girl washing her hands, with the message that handwashing is essential for stopping the spread of germs.

Children at local daycares between the ages of three to five years are being encouraged to colour in the picture, and then return the sheet to the Health Unit. Daycare staff members are also being encouraged to use the colouring sheets as a teaching tool for children to highlight the importance of handwashing. Early in November, three winning entries will be chosen from the colouring sheets that are returned, with the lucky pre-schoolers receiving prize baskets from the Health Unit.

The ‘Health is in Your Hands’ colouring sheets are being circulated during Infection Control Week (October 19-25). The annual awareness week highlights efforts to prevent and control the spread of illness and infection.

“Washing your hands correctly is the most effective thing you can do to protect yourself against many diseases,” says Marianne Rock, Manager of Communicable Disease Control, Epidemiology & Evaluation with the HKPR District Health Unit. “Not only will handwashing keep you healthy, it also helps to prevent the spread of diseases to others.”

Teaching young children to regularly and properly wash their hands is particularly important, given that hands spread an estimated 80 per cent of common infections such as influenza and the common cold. “From a young age, we can teach children a healthy habit that can have life-long benefits for them,” Rock adds.

Ideally when handwashing, people should use regular soap and rub their hands together, ensuring they have lathered all surfaces for at least 15 seconds. To help children understand how long to wash their hands, 15 seconds is roughly the length of time it takes to sing ‘Happy Birthday.’

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For media inquiries, contact:

Marianne Rock, Manager of Communicable Disease Control, Epidemiology & Evaluation, HKPR District Health Unit, (905) 885-9100.

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