The Vancouver Island Health Authority wants to remind parents to remind their kids that the key times for washing hands are after gym class or outdoor play

Reduce germs to help stop flu

The Vancouver Island Health Authority wants to remind parents to remind their kids to wash their hands.

Rick StiebelThe Chronicle

After a few weeks of back to school and with flu season almost upon us, it’s timely to remember some helpful hints to help you win the war on germs.

The Vancouver Island Health Authority wants to remind parents to remind their kids that the key times for washing hands are after gym class or outdoor play, right away after school or outdoor play, before and after eating, and after using the bathroom.

According to a VIHA report, recent studies indicate high levels of potentially harmful bacteria thrive on backpacks, reusable lunch bags, water bottles and handheld devices such as smartphones.

Backpacks are a particularly nasty culprit because they are often in and out of lockers, sitting on the  bathroom floor or in a dirty bus.

Ladysmith Intermediate School principal Colette Young said staff, students and parents need to work together and follow a few basic rules to eliminate the spread of bacteria and reduce the number of children who miss school due to illness.

“One of the classroom jobs we have assigned is to have students wash the tops of desks, door handles and other commonly used surfaces to reduce the spread of germs,” she said.

Since mid-September eight children have contracted Enterovirus D-68, the first recorded cases since 2014. EV-D68 causes mild to severe respiratory illness.

Recommendations to avoid EV-D68 include not sharing utensils, coughing into your elbow or sleeve, and washing hands frequently with plain soap or a sanitizer.