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HSE Encourages Schools to Catch It Bin It Kill It

Posted by SchoolDays Newshound, on 10/11/2023. HSE Encourages Schools to Catch It Bin It Kill It Tags: Teachers


  • Hand washing and cough etiquette can improve respiratory hygiene

  • Posters for schools NOW available to order from HSE’s Health Promotion website

    The HSE’s Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC) is reminding schools to continue to raise awareness around hand hygiene and cough etiquette with the message ‘catch it, bin it, kill it’.
    Posters are NOW available to order from  to help improve respiratory hygiene in primary and secondary schools and they are aimed at assisting teachers to highlight key respiratory hygiene messages.
    We know that many children learned to sneeze and cough into their arm or elbow as part of their response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Continuing to follow these simple steps as part of the ‘catch it, bin it, kill it’ message is vital to improving respiratory hygiene and in reducing the spread of infection. It is a fact that the ten best things to spread bugs amongst children are the ten fingers on their hands. We can stop these bugs in their tracks if we can help children to follow some simple steps.
    Younger children are at increased risk for contracting infectious diseases because they:
    • tend to sneeze and cough into their hands
    • are grouped together and are exposed to many new germs
    • have immune systems that are not fully developed to fight germs
    • have personal habits that spread germs such as thumb sucking, rubbing eyes and putting things in their mouths.
    Dr Greg Martin, HSE HPSC Director says: “It is so important that we do everything practical to protect children’s health. Teaching respiratory etiquette and hand hygiene will help reduce the spread of infections in schools and home. Good respiratory and hand hygiene can help parents reduce the risk of having to stay home from work due to their child’s or their own illness. However if you are sick with an infection such as RSV, flu like illness, COVID-19 or diarrhoea it is important to stay home from work or school. The HSE website has lots of help and advice on managing simple illnesses at home.”
    Dr Eimear Brannigan, Clinical Lead for the HSE Antimicrobial Resistance and Infection Control (AMRIC) team, adds: “As well as teaching children to cough and sneeze into the elbow or a tissue, it’s important they continue to keep up the habits that we learned during the pandemic. We need to encourage children to wash their hands. For younger children get them to sing a song, show them the steps to follow to clean the whole hand. Explain that when the song is finished and they have followed all the steps they have washed their hands properly. Older children and teenagers understand how to wash their hands but it is important that we encourage them to continue to do that. No one wants to miss an important match, concert, date or exam because they picked up a virus or bacteria via their hands.”
    The posters have separate versions for primary schools and secondary schools; they are printed in Irish on one side and English on the reverse. We also have an extremely useful online resource for teachers and parents eBug is a free educational resource for classroom and home use. It enables fun and accessible learning for all students around microorganisms, and the spread, prevention and treatment of infection.
    The school section of the website includes:
    • detailed lesson plans
    • fun student worksheets
    • extension activities
    • animations
    • activity demonstrations.
    Issued by HSE Press Office


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