The science teacher hopes the disturbing findings of the experiment will motivate parents to better understand the importance of hand-washing.
While we're all caught up in the festive high of the holiday season, a science teacher from Idaho is calling attention to another season that's in full swing at the moment: the flu season. A recent disturbing report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) revealed that several states in America—especially the Southern states of Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee, Alabama, Georgia, and South Carolina—have seen a high rate of flu activity in between the months of October and December. Another report by the federal agency that during this period, there have been a whopping 2,600,000 to 3,700,000 flu illnesses nationwide.
CDC estimates so far this season there have been at least 2.6 million flu illnesses, 23,000 hospitalizations & 1,300 deaths from flu w/ activity mostly caused by influenza B. #IDtwitter @CDCgov— Duke Raleigh Antimicrobial Stewardship (@AbxDukeRaleigh) December 16, 2019
2019-2020 U.S. Flu Season: Preliminary Burden Estimates https://t.co/fXhnvR1N50 pic.twitter.com/fvgmX4MM1b
In light of these findings, it is important that we take adequate measures to stay well and healthy. This is exactly the message Jaralee Annice Metcalf hoped to send her students, friends, and family when she took to Facebook to share photos of a science project she did with her class. We did a science project in class this last month as flu season was starting. We took fresh bread and touched it. We did one slice untouched. One with unwashed hands. One with hand sanitizer. One with washed hands with warm water and soap. Then we decided to rub a piece on all our classroom Chromebooks, she wrote.
Metcalf and her students' discovery is a jolting wake-up call on the importance of properly sanitizing our hands at all times. Sharing photos of the different slices of bread displaying varying degrees of mold, she wrote, As somebody who is sick and tired of being sick and tired of being sick and tired. Wash your hands! Remind your kids to wash their hands! And hand sanitizer is not an alternative to washing hands!! At all! This is so DISGUSTING!!!
The slice of bread that had been wiped on the classroom Chromebooks showed the highest rate of fungal activity, indicating just how dirty the surfaces were. Metcalf clarified that while the Chromebooks are usually properly sanitized, they weren't for this experiment to get a good idea of just how unsanitary the surfaces become after they've been used. All the students touched each piece (of the touched pieces). Results took 3-4 weeks because of preservatives. It was plain white bread. The control piece wasn't fresh when we took this picture. It just wasn't ever touched with naked hands and it was moved immediately from the bread bag to the zip lock baggie (every piece of bread here is from the same loaf and same day), she wrote online.
Metcalf added, They're freezer ziplock bags meant for raw meat and they're sealed tight. We do sanitize our Chromebooks, obviously, we did not do that for this experiment. I am in no way trying to make Google Chromebooks look bad, all laptops have germs, the amount is based on the person/people using them and not the brand. Speaking to Parents.com, she said, "If the bread had been exposed to air and moisture, the experiment may have gone faster. The breads that were very clearly exposed to different germs grew mold quicker. And ones touched by clean hands plus the soap and water ones were not exposed to the germs that cause the mold growth to quicken."
The science teacher hopes that the disturbing findings of her classroom experient will motivate parents to better understand the importance of hand-washing, which would come in quite handy if and when their child comes down with a bug. "Germs spread rapidly. And it doesn't matter how often they're told or how well they're taught to wash their hands, children won't always do it properly or enough," said Metcalf.