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Image created by Akanksha Srivastav. Submitted for United Nations Global Call Out To Creatives - help stop the spread of COVID-19.

Our bodies work hard every day to keep us healthy and fight against illnesses and diseases.

If germs get into our bodies, we can become sick. Germs are so small that you need to use a microscope to see them. When they get into our bodies, we often do not know they are there unless we get sick. 

There are many different types of germ, and they exist in many different places. Germs can affect animals, plants and people. There are four main types of germs: viruses, bacteria, fungi and protozoa. 

You can find out more about different types of germs on the KidsHealth website and about some of the diseases they cause by looking at Learning from Pandemics.

Try this experiment at home to see how germs can spread. You will need: 

  • a bowl of water
  • some soap
  • some ground peppercorns. 

Put some water into the bowl and then add one or two tablespoons of ground peppercorns. Having done this, put some soap onto your finger and put it into the water. What do you notice about the peppercorns? Did you see that they moved away from the soap? This is similar when you have germs on your hands; using soap helps to get rid of them.

If you can’t do the experiment at home have a look at this video

How should we wash our hands? (examples from around the world)

Covid-19 is a recent pandemic and can spread easily. One of the important ways to stop it spreading is to wash your hands regularly. How often do you wash your hands? Do you wash them well? By washing your hands properly, you can help reduce the risk of infection. 

Countries all over the world have developed ways to educate people on how to reduce the risk of infection. One of the important ways, both for Covid-19 and many other infectious diseases, is through thorough handwashing. Watch the following videos from around the globe on how to wash:

oNdlovu Youth choir (South Africa)

oGroup dance (India)

oGHEN CÔ VY (Vietnam)

Don’t worry if you can’t watch these videos, you could have a look at this poster on how to wash your hands instead.

This video stresses the point about which parts of the hands are usually missed. Gloves are used in this experiment to protect the hands from staining from the ink.

In the video from Ndlovu Youth Choir, did you notice that even though they washed their hands using buckets of water and soap they did not share the water in the buckets but simply used it to rinse off the soap? If they were to wash their hands in the same bucket would this be effective? Why not? 

In many countries there is no running water and this can lead to an increase in infections. However, people have come up with some solutions.

Read the case study of the Veronica Bucket in Ghana which was invented nearly 30 years ago and used effectively to tackle Ebola. 

Brainstorm some ideas about what you understand by the terms ‘physical distancing’ and ‘lockdown’.