Preschoolers learn to fight disease by washing hands

By Diane Palmer

Student washing her handsEach year more than 164 million school days are lost due to illness, and young children are among those at the highest risk.  This message has become even more important as H1N1 (swine) flu cases have spread.

A simple and effective defense is frequent hand-washing. To help preschoolers learn this lesson Clemson Extension agent Marlyne Walker developed “Nutritious Storytime” as part of the Newberry County First Steps program in day care centers.

The story and craft activity teaches six steps for hand-washing and when to wash. After the activity the children practice the six steps, which also apply to older children and adults: 

  1. Wet hands with clean, warm, running water
  2. Apply soap
  3. Lather hands and wrists for 20 seconds
  4. Rinse hands well under running water
  5. Dry hands with paper towels or air dryer
  6. Use paper towel to turn off the faucet

For more information: Marlyne Walker, 803-276-1091, marlyne@clemson.edu or www.clemson.edu/extension/.