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AYER — The month of January is right in the middle of the infamous cold and flu season in New England. Contrary to what many people think, you don’t get a cold from going outside without a jacket, or going out with wet hair — you only get a cold from one thing — germs.

At a place like the Page Hilltop School in Ayer, there are 600 pint-size germ carriers walking the hallways. So how can an elementary school fight against germs and keep the students and staff as healthy as possible? Health teacher Shari Matthews found the perfect method — Glo Germ.

Glo Germ is a system that shows you how well you wash your hands. “Hand-washing is the best way to eliminate the germs that make us sick,” Matthews explained to the children. In order to demonstrate to the pupils proper hand-washing technique, she used the Glo Germ materials.

First the children put the nontoxic powder or gel onto their hands — these are the simulated germs. Then they are instructed to wash their hands like they normally would. After the washing, a fluorescent black light is used to shine on the children’s hands. Spots that were not washed well enough will glow, showing that there are germs still present.

The students enjoy this exercise each year, and are always amazed by the results. “I try to teach healthy habits for the students and hand-washing is a good way for them to stay healthy,” Matthews said.

The American Medical Association also advocates for proper hand-washing techniques. The AMA endorses a children’s program called “Henry the Hand.” The program advocates “Four Principles of Hand Awareness,” to help keep families healthy. The Four Principles of Hand Awareness are: 1. Wash your hands when they are dirty and before eating. 2. Do not cough into your hands. 3. Do not sneeze into your hands. 4. Above all, do not put your fingers in your eyes, nose or mouth.

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