Shedding light on killing germs

Published 12:00 am Friday, November 8, 2002

Cold and flu season is almost on us, and according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the common cold accounts for 22 million days lost from school. Prevention is on the minds of most people, and at Ciba Specialty Chemicals in Suffolk it’s definitely the focus of their attention.

Recently, children faced a real danger when they were out begging sweets and goodies for Halloween. There were no injuries but children were still in danger. That danger came from a huge variety of germs on items like candy bowls, doorknobs and each other. Even more frightening, those incidents of coming into contact with germs pales in comparison to a typical school day, said Win Winslow, the community relations manager for Ciba in Suffolk.

&uot;Viruses live on the surface of desks, toys, crayons, and just about everything we touch,&uot; said Winslow. &uot;For most young children, and indeed many adults, seeing the connection is believing so when it comes to education on fighting invisible germs that cause sickness and disease. It can be a tough battle!&uot;

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Winslow invited the kindergarten students from Mack Benn Jr. Elementary School to experience first hand activities designed to teach proper hand-washing techniques.

&uot;These kindergartners &uot;saw&uot; their own germs, and then learned to &uot;scare’ them away with soap and water in activities led by Ciba,&uot; said Winslow. &uot;This program was sponsored by Ciba of Suffolk to commemorate &uot;National Chemistry Week.&uot; This was developed to provide a better understanding of the importance of chemistry in our lives, and this year it focuses on its role in keeping us clean.&uot;

Black lights and lotion were used to demonstrate how germs are spread and transmitted from our hands to everything we touch.

&uot;This lotion, called &uot;glo-germ,’ was spread on the children’s hands and on various items around the room,&uot; said Winslow. &uot;The children were encouraged to touch everything, and then a black light revealed fictitious germs as the children were also taught to properly wash their hands.&uot;

&uot;It is estimated that infants and young children have an average of four to eight colds a year,&uot; said Winslow. &uot;In a recent study, it was discovered that the common cold accounts for 22 million days lost from school. With the cold and flu season upon us, prevention is now on the minds of most people and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention tell us that hand washing is one of the most effective methods of preventing the spread of germs associated with common colds.&uot;

Winslow added that now is the time to get children focused on the habit of clean hands. Germs attach to our hands all day long and by teaching the simple procedure of hand washing to a child, we can prevent the transmission of all types of illness.

Ciba is a leading company dedicated to producing high-value effects for its customers’ products.

&uot;Our specialty chemicals, added in small quantities, enhance the performance, look and feel of that product,&uot; said Winslow. &uot;Ciba brings new and creative thoughts to the processes and products of customers in more than 120 countries. In 2001, Ciba spent $276 million on research and development.