Geoff Dornan

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November 16, 2007
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Nursing students teach kids how to avoid getting sick

A group of nursing students from University of Nevada, Reno spent Friday teaching fourth-graders at Fremont Elementary School how to avoid getting sick this season.

They said it's very easy to do, "Specifically, hand washing."

School nurse Sheila Bridges invited the group, saying every year at this time the number of colds, flu cases and other illnesses rise in the school.

Jennifer Hinnant said studies have shown simple handwashing and following a few other common sense rules can reduce student absences by a third in just five weeks.

Those precautions, according to nursing professor Bernie Longo, are designed to "break the chain of infection."

Christy McIntire said they give the students a graphic demonstration of how germs are passed from one person to another by dipping students' hands in flour. She said then they can see as they touch another person's hands or face how the flour transfers from one to another.

They teach the students to avoid putting their hands on other students' faces and not to pick things up and put them in their mouths.

Bridges said she emphasizes that students should use tissue to blow their noses, not just wipe it onto a hand or sleeve where it can easily be passed to another student.

Wilcox said that helps teach students the importance of washing hands after going to the bathroom and before and after eating.

"Then hopefully, they can keep from transmitting germs from one to another," said Sullivan.

Longo and Bridges said those simple lessons are good for parents to know as well, because emphasizing hygiene at home will reduce the number of illnesses a student picks up at school.

"The most common question I get from parents is, 'Is there something going around?' There's always something going around," said Bridges.

Bridges praised the quality of the students she's seeing from Orvis School of Nursing at UNR and their willingness to come down and work with her students.

She said she hopes some will want to become school nurses when they graduate.

• Contact reporter Geoff Dornan at or 687-8750.

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The Nevada Appeal Updated Nov 17, 2007 02:17AM Published Nov 16, 2007 03:00AM Copyright 2007 The Nevada Appeal. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.