7 On Your Side: Germ-Free Kids - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

1/30/06-East Texas

7 On Your Side: Germ-Free Kids

6th grader Timmy hates getting sick. He knows at least one place germs that cause colds may be lurking. "I think classrooms are very dirty. Everybody touches everything," says Timmy. The experts agree and say schools can literally be breeding grounds for bacteria. "Larger groups of children together in smaller confined spaces, probably not the best ventilated. And these kids are also sharing a lot of things - toys, and school supplies and thus sharing germs," says Cynthia Haines, M.D. with WebMD. Which leads us to our first tip, keep sharing to a minimum, especially things like crayons, pencils, and community supplies. "One the dirtiest, germiest places in the classroom is the shared pencil sharpener. Another tip for parents is to send their children to school with mechanical pencils," says Haines. Backpacks should not be left on the floor. "Especially when they're in a restroom. Bathroom floors, especially, are breeding grounds for a lot of nasty bacteria," adds Haines. And finally, ask teachers how often they disinfect, wiping down keyboards, mouses, toys, and doorknobs. "We encourage students to use the anti-bacterial soap often so we can hopefully minimize the amount of germs," says Timmy's mom Heather Mailloux, who's also a teacher. While experts say it's impossible to create a completely germ free environment these small steps can make a big difference.

We called the big school districts in East Texas to see how they keep their campuses germ-free. Tyler ISD says nurses are encouraged to have anti-bacterial hand lotion at all times, it also changes filters at schools regularly. Longview ISD says doorknobs and keyboards are wiped down regularly, and kids are taken to the bathroom before lunchtime to wash their hands.

Christine Nelson reporting. cnelson@kltv.com

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