Easing the effects of sneezing
Pupils are set to become teachers if a lesson about how sneezing spreads illness takes hold.
The annual Sneeze Safe campaign encouraging kids to cover their sneezes and confine their coughs and sniffles, uses glitter, spray bottles, and soap bubbles to demonstrate how airborne germs spread to infect others.
Mandy Veza’s year 4 and 5s at Roslyn School responded enthusiastically to the lesson.
‘‘We like sharing, but not colds, coughs and flu,’’ Veza said as she sprayed them with fine water droplets and asked the children to imagine the moisture they could feel was the after effects of somebody’s sneezes settling their skin.
Arapata Hirini, 9, described the droplets as ‘‘little sneeze germs’’.
The spray showed just how how far and how fast germ-laden sneezes could spread.
Soap bubbles then illustrated in a graphic way how germs could float through the air, and how long they could last.
It wasn’t just on other people where sneezed cold and flu germs settled, but on things such as computer keyboards that others would touch.
‘‘You sneeze all over your keyboard, and then someone else comes along to use it, and they now have your germs,’’ Veza told them.
A glitter handshake, with the glitter standing in for the germs, was next, and demonstrated how easy it was to pass on colds and flu by touch.
Prevention techniques included trapping the sneeze either by using the inside of the elbow, or cupped hands, which should then be washed. Handkerchiefs, which have a downside in that they can then become a pocket vehicle for germs, were another line of defence.
The preferred option the children were told, were tissues that could be binned.
The ‘Trap it! Bin it! Wash it!’ campaign was based on research that suggested 40 per cent of New Zealanders were unaware of how colds and flu were spread.
It was designed to lift standards of cold and flu hygiene practised by children, and to stop bad habits before they started.
At the end of the lesson, Veza’s class was encouraged to take the SneezeSafe message home to share with whanau members.
Roslyn School teacher Mandy Veza uses bubble mix to demonstrate how flu germs spread on the air, with Zakia Sayed, 8.
Roslyn School teacher Mandy Veza uses glitter to demonstrate to her class how flu spreads by hand contact.