HSE infection control nurse visits South East school

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As children return to school, the HSE/South East Community Healthcare is reminding everyone as to the importance of one of the basics in the fight to stop the spread of Covid-19.

This week, infection control nurse Lenora Fitzgerald visited classrooms at Glenbeg National School near Dungarvan, Co. Waterford and spoke to children about the World Health Organisation’s 'why, when and how' hand hygiene message. Hand hygiene involves washing hands with soap and water and the application of hand sanitiser.

Conscious that such a message is being emphasised in every school around the South East, Lenora’s hand hygiene demonstration in Ms. Walker’s classroom for third and fourth class pupils can be viewed in the video above.

“Hands, including little ones, have a crucial role in preventing the transmission of Covid-19. The coronavirus primarily spreads through respiratory droplets and contact transmission, which means by touching infected people and/or contaminated objects or surfaces. Thus, your hands can spread virus to other surfaces and/or to you through your mouth, nose or eyes if you touch them with the virus on your hands," Lenora said.

“Clean hands literally save lives. They helps curb the virus in the community and help my colleagues in the HSE to deliver health care safely and effectively without the enormous additional pressures that Covid-19 can place on the services."

'Washing hands should take at least 20-30 seconds'

Lenora advised pupils to use soap and water or hand sanitiser to clean their hands regularly. After using the toilet or when hands are visibly dirty, everyone should wash with soap and water. 

  • Wet your hands with water and apply soap. Rub your hands together, palm to palm, until the soap forms a lather.
  • Rub the back of one hand with your palm and fingers spread so you wash between fingers. Repeat with the other hand. 
  • Interlock the top of your hands and rub your fingertips - this cleans your fingertips and knuckles. 
  • Finally, grasp your thumb and twist to make sure your thumbs are cleaned. Repeat with the other hand.
  • Rinse your hands under running water. 
  • Dry your hands with a clean towel (at home) or paper towel.
  • The exact same technique of rubbing hands is used with hand sanitiser. When hands look clean, then you can use the hand sanitiser.

Welcoming Lenora to the school was her sister and principal Catherine Fitzgerald. Speaking about Lenora’s visit, Ms Fitzgerald said: “We are very conscious of the outstanding support and cooperation from teaching and other staff colleagues, the board of management, parents, and the children themselves in getting schools back up and running in what has been a difficult and challenging year for everyone.

"We were delighted to get to this point this week. We are one of two primary schools serving the rural parts of Dungarvan parish (or the Brickey Valley as it’s known locally) and it’s a great boost to the local community that we are back as a feature in their lives.

“It was great to welcome in the infection control nurse from HSE/South East Community Healthcare. Lenora had a most interested audience of children in each classroom she visited.

"As with Glenbeg here, throughout the hundreds of primary schools in counties Carlow, Kilkenny, South Tipperary, Waterford, Wexford and at home, teachers and parents are reminding thousands of children on the basics of hand washing. Maybe the little clip we recorded with Lenora here today will be of help in the important quest to keep everyone safe and stop the spread of Covid-19," Ms Fitzgerald added.