Hand-washing message for pupils

Dr Kevin Pollock demonstrates the lightbox to P7 pupils Nicky Thomson and Tayler Henderson
Dr Kevin Pollock demonstrates the lightbox to P7 pupils Nicky Thomson and Tayler Henderson

AN ABERDEENSHIRE school has taken delivery of equipment which will help raise awareness of the importance of hand-washing to prevent the spread of infections like E-Coli 0157.

The fluorescent lightbox was presented to Pitmedden Primary on Monday by H.U.S.H. - an E-Coli support group.

The charity secured the funding for the box - which costs around £200 - through Health Protection Scotland and there are plans to introduce another two boxes to North-east schools.

Co-ordinator of HUSH (Haemolytic Uraemic Syndrome Help) Ishbel Mackinnon explained how the box worked: “The children can put gel or powder on their hands and that’s to replicate bacteria and they then put their hands in the ultra-violet lightbox which shows up the powder, which is obviously invisible to the naked eye, as a real bacteria.

“Then they have the opportunity to wash their hands, come back, put their hands in the box again and of course it shows all the areas we all miss unless we are being very careful.

“It just raises awareness of good hand-washing technique.”

Kevin Pollock, an epidemiologist with Health Protection Scotland, said it was a good way of getting the message out to children and parents about the importance of hand-washing in preventing against gastro-intestinal infections such as E-Coli 0157.

Dr Pollock, a former Pitmedden pupil, added: “If you get the message into children as early as possible it is something they will carry on in later life.

“It’s a good habit to get into.”

Pitmedden head teacher Ken McGowan said that anything that can help to raise awareness of the importance of good hand-washing was to be welcomed.