A NewsChannel 11 Experiment: How quickly germs spread - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

5/12/09

A NewsChannel 11 Experiment: How quickly germs spread

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By Brittany Pieper  - bio | email

LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - With the recent Swine Flu outbreak, NewsChannel 11 wanted to see how quickly germs could spread among school age children. So we performed an experiment with the help of Ms. Roden's third grade class at Hardwick Elementary. 

Lubbock Independent School District spends a lot of time teaching their students about good hand washing techniques. The district even places hand sanitizer in many of their classrooms. But with the help of a product called Germ Glo, we found out what can happen if just one child fails to wash their hands properly.     

A single sneeze, a runny nose, or a couple coughs is all it takes to start the spread of germs, but when you can't see them, it's hard to realize how quickly they can spread. "The kids, they don't realize how important it is to wash your hands. They don't realize how fast germs transfer from one to another," said elementary school nurse Andrea Gallardo.     

Paden Gallardo and the rest of his third grade class share jump ropes, hula hoops, and basketballs in gym class. Right before P.E. we rubbed Germ Glo all over Paden's hands. It's a glow in the dark gel that represents germs. While some of Paden's classmates noticed his hands looked a little orange, they did not notice when it rubbed off on them.     

NewsChannel 11 watched as Paden came in contact with other students, gym equipment, the water fountain and bathroom door. On each item, he left a mark that glowed when held under a black light. We even checked to see how many kids had a glow mark. Eleven of the 21 kids in the class had Germ Glo on their hands or arms, and about half of those say they never even touched Paden. "Maybe Paden had a basketball and someone else must have had it and started playing with it, and it might have got on their hands," suggested one student.     

The gel spread to more than just their hands. It covered Paden's desk, school supplies, and face. "I was just amazed at how fast the germs could spread in just the one hour," he said.      

This story is not meant to scare students or their parents, just to make them aware of the importance of proper hand watching.

©2009 KCBD NewsChannel 11. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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