child getting his hands washed by an adult

How to avoid back-to-school germs

Basic hygiene can make the back-to-school transition easier
August 13, 2018

The days of summer are slowly fading, and children are headed back to class, but they aren’t just bringing their memories and mementos from summer vacation. They’re also bringing germs.

Alison Pittman, PhD, CPN, RN, clinical assistant professor at the Texas A&M College of Nursing, talks about the germy hotspots that are found around schools.

“The one place we all think about is the bathroom, especially the handles of the commode or the handles on the faucets since we touch those before washing our hands,” Pittman said. “Some other places that we don’t all think about are the places and objects touched by many, many different hands.”


Doors handles, keyboards, iPads and school supplies are all prime examples.

When it comes to keeping clean, Pittman recommends that we teach kids proper hygiene: specifically, how to properly wash hands.

“The way we teach children to wash their hands is to do it for 20 seconds: wet their hands, get soap, rub with friction so they can remove germs inside the hands, on the tops of the hands, in between the fingers and under the nails,” Pittman said.

If they don’t have a timer, Pittman recommends they sing the ‘Happy Birthday’ song twice and rinse with warm water and dry with paper towels.

— Dominic Hernandez