Rachel Smalley: Flu factor prompts lessons in sneezing

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Sneeze Safe teaches children to "trap it, bin it and wash it". Photo / Thinkstock
Sneeze Safe teaches children to "trap it, bin it and wash it". Photo / Thinkstock

It's an attempt to stop one sick child from infecting an entire classroom, and spreading the virus to vulnerable, pre-school siblings at home.

This week I interviewed a woman whose fulltime job is teaching school children how to sneeze safely.

I queried my boss when she had first suggested it. "Really?" I said.

"You want me to interview someone about sneezing? Is that news?"

"It's autumn. It's the start of flu season," she said. "It's timely."

Sneeze Safe teaches children to "trap it, bin it and wash it".

It's an attempt to stop one sick child from infecting an entire classroom, and spreading the virus to vulnerable, pre-school siblings at home.

It's a school-based campaign and reaches children who are most at-risk of flu - the disadvantaged and disenfranchised who are living with extended families in cramped, damp housing; homes with little warmth, even less money.

It's an effective public health campaign because it requires no parental input - and that is the issue with offering free flu jabs.

Parents will have to request a vaccination and that raises a crucial question - will the parents whose children need it most bother?


letters@hos.co.nz

- Herald on Sunday

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