Flu season is upon us. Which means it’s time to start washing your hands with anti-bacterial soap every chance you get. Don’t believe us? Maybe Donna Gill Allen, a Health Occupation teacher at Cape Fear High school in Fayetteville, North Carolina, can convince you with the experiment she did with her students. “You let all the kids see you put a piece of bread in a baggy with a glove on, hence ‘controlled,’ then you wash your hands and put a piece of bread in a baggy for ‘clean.’ Last, but definitely not least, you pass a piece of bread around and let every kid in class touch it, then you put it in a baggy and label it dirty,” Allen said on Facebook.
Then you let the bags sit and the kids get to watch as each piece of bread changes over time — these were the results. It’s safe to say Allen’s lesson was successful. “My students are Certified Nursing Assistants when they graduate from my program. I teach them to take care of patients. Part of their education is to teach them to wash their hands. This experiment was perfect for teaching about germs,” she told Scary Mommy.
And the Director of the Health, Beauty & Environmental Sciences Lab in the Good Housekeeping Institute, Birnur K. Aral, PH.D., agrees: “The experiment makes a great visual illustration of the utility of soap preventing germ transfer and growth a la ‘a picture is worth a thousand words.'”
Since washing your hands is the most important way to reduce the risk of transmitting disease, it’s important to teach kids this lesson when they’re young so it becomes a habit as they get older — and this simple experiment seems to be the way to do it.