Officials from the Louisville Water Company stopped by Field Elementary to teach students proper handwashing techniques.
Students at Field Elementary School prepare to wash their hands under guidance from the Louisville Water Company.
A student at Field Elementary in Louisville pauses before washing his hands.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- The Louisville Water Company headed out into the community Tuesday to begin teaching hundreds of students how to properly wash their hands.
This week Louisville Water is visiting classrooms at Field Elementary for an interactive lesson with students. The company times the lesson each year to coincide with the flu season -- which is widespread this year in both Kentucky and Indiana.
Louisville Metro Health Department says this year's flu season, which started August 1, has been much more dangerous than last year. In January 2018, Louisville has had 377 confirmed flu cases. In January 2017, Louisville only had 46 confirmed flu cases. This year, Kentucky has had 12 flu-related deaths, and Indiana has had 25 flu-related deaths. Louisville Metro Health Department says washing your hands is one of the easiest ways of preventing the flu.
Barbara Crow leads the important hands-on lessons and uses a fun technique to teach it: she has students put "pretend germs" (hand lotion with glowing paint mixed into it) on their hands.
After the children finish washing, Crow uses a blacklight to show areas that were missed while washing.
Company officials say it's a fun but important lesson for the kids.
"Schools are kind of breeding grounds for germs," said Channa Newman, manager of education and outreach for the Louisville Water Company.
"We have lots of kids in one area," Newman said. "They're sharing lots of things -- pencils, pens. They're touching each other all day long, touching the floors, all that kind of thing. So it's really important that they understand this is something they can do to prevent the germs from getting in their bodies."
Newman said it is important for the kids to know the simple act of washing their hands is something they can do on their own to keep themselves safe and flu-free.
Louisville Water Company officials will be traveling to more schools throughout the week to deliver the lesson to other students.