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Hand Washing Can Help Fight Against the Swine Flu
Date:4/30/2009

NSF International's Scrub Club(R) Teaches Children the Importance of Washing their Hands

ANN ARBOR, Mich., April 30 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Concerns regarding a potential swine flu pandemic continue to surface internationally. New cases have been reported in at least ten U.S. states and eight countries. This includes a twenty-three month old toddler in Texas who died yesterday, the first reported fatality outside of Mexico.

(Logo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20070816/DCTH039LOGO)

"With increasing reports of the swine flu, hand washing is more important than ever," said Cheryl Luptowski, NSF International Public Information Officer. "By teaching children proper hand washing practices, we can make a difference in preventing the spread of the flu and other serious illnesses."

The influenza virus is often spread when a person comes in contact with something that has been contaminated with germs, such as people's hands, doorknobs or countertops, and then touches their eyes, nose or mouth before washing their hands. In fact, an NSF International classroom study in 2005 found that commonly shared items, such as drinking fountains, desks and cafeteria trays typically have more germs than any other surface in a school.

"Our first line of defense against all viruses is hand washing," said Rob Donofrio, Ph.D. Director of NSF's Microbiology Laboratory. "Proper hand washing is one of the easiest things that we can all do to keep from getting sick and spreading illness, and our classroom study reinforces this."

In another study conducted by NSF in 2006, 42 percent of teachers surveyed said it is more difficult to get their students to use soap when they wash their hands than it is to get them to do their homework, and 86 percent of teachers say that parents often send a sick child to school since he/she may be unable to stay at home alone.

With youth at risk, NSF's Scrub Club(R) (scrubclub.org) provides an effective way for kids to learn the importance of hand washing to protect them against influenza. NSF International, a not-for-profit public health and safety organization, has developed a Web site that teaches children how to properly wash their hands.

To view the entire news release, please visit http://www.nsf.org/info/press/index.asp?p_id=16532.

    Greta Houlahan
    Phone: +1.734.913.5723
    Email: houlahan@nsf.org



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SOURCE NSF International
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