Swine flu prevention

Posted by: chocolatefairy99

Swine flu prevention - 08/26/09 08:46 AM

I'm starting back teaching next week after summer break. I'm very concious of health and well-being (probably after working part-time in a pharmaceutical factory for a few years). I've always had hand sanitizer available in my piano studio for students to use, but this year I've sourced an alcohol-free, child-friendly sanitizer that I'm making compulsory for students to use before and after playing the piano at their lesson. I've notified the parents and so far nobody has complained.

Do you all think I'm mad? Or are other teachers taking precautions to help prevent the spread of flu/colds etc
Posted by: Kreisler

Re: Swine flu prevention - 08/26/09 09:26 AM

You're not crazy. The CDC has suggested extreme caution this flu season, and I'll be wiping down the keyboard this year too.
Posted by: Morodiene

Re: Swine flu prevention - 08/26/09 10:39 AM

I bought some small anti-bacterial hand sanitizers from Bath & Body. I keep one on each piano, and they have nice scents. Most students will put them on without me recommending it. I think they're used to being asked to do this in school. I also wipe down the keys, although I'm going to do it more frequently this year, maybe after each day instead of once in a week or so.

Since I play these instruments, I don't want to catch any colds or viruses! However, I really don't know how effective this stuff really is. I heard somewhere that since we are using so much of this stuff now that the colds are becoming resistant to it.
Posted by: Piano*Dad

Re: Swine flu prevention - 08/26/09 10:54 AM

How much care do you exercise to ensure that the product doesn't introduce strange oils or solvents onto piano keys and piano finishes? The fact that they are scented would raise some flags with me, and many of the commercial products also like to double as hand moisturizers.
Posted by: Morodiene

Re: Swine flu prevention - 08/26/09 10:58 AM

I have given no thought to it, actually. My keys are plastic, not ivory, and so I clean them with clorox wipes. I've been doing this along with the hand sanitizers for the past couple of years without any discoloration or wear on the finish. These do not have aloe in them or anything to moisturize the hands either.
Posted by: Diane...

Re: Swine flu prevention - 08/26/09 11:04 AM

I'm still investigating this myself. And yes, I will be sending a letter out to the parents letting them know that I will be washing the piano down after each student! And that this is going to take 5 minutes out of their lesson.

Am still trying to find what will be guaranteed to kill this virus if it does end up on my pianos!

Not easy to find out information, I have discovered, but I'm going to do everything I can so the parents know I'm going to make it as safe as possible for their kids!

Also, have heard that clorox is the only thing that will kill it 100%, but the alcohol in some hand sanitizers kills it too! The reason for my worry, is that a lot of summer camps were shut down here because of this thing!

My concern is that I just don't want to discolor, or bleach the keys on my piano! Especially the black ones!

Doing everything I can! Til I know more!
Posted by: MrsCamels

Re: Swine flu prevention - 08/26/09 11:30 AM

Yes, i've had a bottle of hand sanitizer on my piano, but rarely enforce its use - will be making sure all students wash hands before lesson or use sanitizer - plus cleaning the keys more frequently. Thank you HINI for encouraging me to finally clean. haha.
Posted by: Little_Blue_Engine

Re: Swine flu prevention - 08/26/09 11:32 AM

I think it would be reasonable to ask that every student simply give their hands a good washing before their lesson. With all the worry about what this flu season may be like I would think most parents and students would understand. The hand sanitizer is great, but good old washing doesn't need to kill the germs because it sends them on their merry way down the drain! Sanitizer would still be a good idea to use during a lesson after sneezes and coughs. Some of the teachers in my school district make it a class rule. If you sneezed or coughed and your hands were involved in any way use the sanitizer.
Posted by: Betty Patnude

Re: Swine flu prevention - 08/26/09 11:41 AM

One can't be too careful when mega-staph and mega flu come to call. My policy is very stiff about illness - if you are ill in anyway, or your family is sharing a bug, do NOT come for lesson, I will NOT teach it. This is for my own auto-immune protection because I spent many years catching everything. Students do not do well at lessons when they are ill anyway. I think they should be spared the negative experience of the stress of it.

Don't forget to keep the knob on the front door wiped off and any other place that visitors (not just piano students) have visited. The bathroom is just as important because I ask my students to wash their hands first, then use the sanitizers too.

I'm not so sure about the use of clorox wipes as that is quite a bit of moisture to put on the keyboard, keys are wood with plastic tops these days. I would want to make sure the bleach was not left on the keys because of the students whose hands sweat too much. Wouldn't the chemicals transfer to the skin? And, clorox has never been advised to touch skin it's pretty caustic, I think.

Perhaps a piano tuner would contribute to this discussion about cleaning the piano, bench and keys, for bacteria and staph and prevention of communicable diseases.
Posted by: Diane...

Re: Swine flu prevention - 08/26/09 11:57 AM

Originally Posted By: Betty Patnude
Perhaps a piano tuner would contribute to this discussion about cleaning the piano, bench and keys, for bacteria and staph and prevention of communicable diseases.


Yes, I put a note over there (Piano Tuners Forum) and got some interesting responses!

It's under the The topic "h1n1 virus" (different name but same thing as Swine flu)!

Have a look! Not sure some are serious or not! smile
Posted by: Diane...

Re: Swine flu prevention - 08/26/09 12:17 PM

Should add that the Swine Flu DOES NOT come from pigs! The pig farmers are getting a bad wrap because of that! smile So they changed the name to H1N1 Flu!

There was a flu way back that took out a lot of people called the "Spanish Flu"? And it wasn't spanish at all, it came from CHINA! smile

Go figure! People should think before they give it a name! smile
Posted by: Mrs.A

Re: Swine flu prevention - 08/26/09 01:03 PM

My ideal piano studio would have a sink for handwashing.

last year I insisted students use sanitizer before and after lessons. I felt that it did cut down on the colds and flu.
Posted by: currawong

Re: Swine flu prevention - 08/26/09 06:13 PM

Originally Posted By: Diane...
Should add that the Swine Flu DOES NOT come from pigs! The pig farmers are getting a bad wrap because of that! smile
Here in Australia we've had a few cases of humans giving it to pigs!

As for the anti-bacterial stuff - H1N1 is a virus, is it not? They've been telling us here that soap and water is the thing.
Posted by: Stanny

Re: Swine flu prevention - 08/26/09 06:22 PM

I have a sink for handwashing right near the front door (powder room) and this year I have invested in individual fingertip towels so they are single use. I also have hand sanitizer on my desk by the piano. I was careful last year to wash my OWN hands between students and I had a very healthy season!
Posted by: gooddog

Re: Swine flu prevention - 08/26/09 07:18 PM

Science teacher's trick to staying healthy: Wash your hands frequently and KEEP YOUR HANDS OFF YOUR FACE! The primary way a virus gets into your body is through your mucus membranes, i.e., eyes, nose or mouth. If you forget and rub an itchy eye, put a pencil in your mouth or touch your nose, you are opening yourself to sickness. I see 140 kids a day and I rarely get sick.
Posted by: Mark...

Re: Swine flu prevention - 08/26/09 08:06 PM

So far this virus doesn't seem any worse that the yearly flu we see every year. This one is just getting more media attention. Hand washing with soap and hot water is the best. 15 seconds minimum. Many sanitizers/disinfectants cause bugs to morph into stronger bugs.

Send sick kids home and like someone said don't touch your face. Get the flu shot. Eat well get rest and don't stress out on this flu...
Posted by: Barb860

Re: Swine flu prevention - 08/27/09 06:37 PM

Originally Posted By: currawong
Originally Posted By: Diane...
Should add that the Swine Flu DOES NOT come from pigs! The pig farmers are getting a bad wrap because of that! smile
Here in Australia we've had a few cases of humans giving it to pigs!

As for the anti-bacterial stuff - H1N1 is a virus, is it not? They've been telling us here that soap and water is the thing.


Makes sense, soap and water is the way to go. I have several students out sick right now, and one is a confirmed case of H1N1. We have several confirmed cases of it at our local high school.
I will send each kid to the bathroom to wash hands before every lesson. Stanny's idea of having the disposable towels is good.
I should have been doing this all along...
Posted by: John v.d.Brook

Re: Swine flu prevention - 08/27/09 08:14 PM

Hygiene would seem prudent, whether there is a potent virus or not. From what I've read, teachers over 60 already have an immunity to this particular virus, thanks to the crud we suffered with as children.

That aside, I find it rather interesting that while in college and doing my military service, where immunizations were mandatory, I got the flu with clock-like regularity. I mean, the real McCoy.

Since then, I've managed to avoid the flu shot line, and have not had a case of flu since. Whether this is serendipity or the threat is overblown, I do not know. I do know that our current political situation capitalizes on and and all possible scares.

So my humble advice is to be prudent, don't touch membranes without first washing your hands - which any physician will tell you anyway - and clean your keyboard daily.
Posted by: Lollipop

Re: Swine flu prevention - 08/27/09 08:22 PM

My daughter's college sent this:

Practice good hand hygiene by washing your hands with soap and water, especially after coughing or sneezing. Alcohol-based hand cleaners also are effective. Hand sanitizer stations have been distributed at the entrances to residence and dining halls.
Practice respiratory etiquette by covering your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. If you don’t have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your elbow or shoulder, not into your hands. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth; germs are spread this way.
Know the signs and symptoms of the flu. A fever is a temperature of at least 100 degrees Fahrenheit or 38 degrees Celsius. Look for possible signs of fever: if the person feels very warm, has a flushed appearance, or is sweating or shivering. Symptoms of flu include fever or chills and cough or sore throat. In addition, symptoms of flu can include runny nose, body aches, headache, tiredness, diarrhea, or vomiting.
Stay home if you have flu or flu-like illness for at least 24 hours after you no longer have a fever (100 degrees Fahrenheit or 38 degrees Celsius) or signs of a fever (have chills, feel very warm, have a flushed appearance, or are sweating). This should be determined without the use of fever-reducing medications (any medicine that contains ibuprofen or acetaminophen). The flu may last up to 7 days. Don’t go to class or work if you’re ill. Ask a friend to bring meals to your room.
Talk with your health care providers about whether you should be vaccinated for seasonal flu. Also if you are at higher risk for flu complications from 2009 H1N1 flu, you should consider getting the H1N1 vaccine when it becomes available. People at higher risk for 2009 H1N1 flu complications include pregnant women and people with chronic medical conditions (such as asthma, heart disease, or diabetes). For more information about priority groups for vaccination, visit www.cdc.gov/h1n1flu/vaccination/acip.htm <http://www.cdc.gov/h1n1flu/vaccination/acip.htm> .

And by the way, concerning pigs:

flu.gov says this:

Quote:
Q: How do you catch H1N1 (swine) flu?

Spread of H1N1 (swine) flu can occur in two ways:

•Through contact with infected pigs or environments contaminated with swine flu viruses.
•Through contact with a person with H1N1 (swine) flu. Human-to-human spread of H1N1 (swine) flu has been documented also and is thought to occur in the same way as seasonal flu. Influenza is thought to spread mainly person-to-person through coughing or sneezing of infected people.

Q: Do pigs carry this virus and can I catch this virus from a pig?

At this time, there is no evidence that swine in the United States are infected with this new virus. However, there are flu viruses that commonly cause outbreaks of illness in pigs. Most of the time, these viruses do not infect people, but influenza viruses can spread back and forth between pigs and people.
Posted by: gooddog

Re: Swine flu prevention - 08/27/09 09:00 PM

Originally Posted By: John v.d.Brook


That aside, I find it rather interesting that while in college and doing my military service, where immunizations were mandatory, I got the flu with clock-like regularity. I mean, the real McCoy.

Since then, I've managed to avoid the flu shot line, and have not had a case of flu since. Whether this is serendipity or ...


John, what you are saying makes absolutely no scientific sense, but it seems to be true for me too. I've only had the flu once - during the year I had my one and only flu shot. Go figure. I can't explain it either.

By the way folks. It's just a plain old flu. Not a dramatic civilization ending epidemic that the media is trying to make you believe it is. The risks are like any other flu - meaning highest for the elderly, very young and immunocompromised. If you get sick, you'll feel crummy for a few days and then you will get better!
Posted by: currawong

Re: Swine flu prevention - 08/27/09 09:35 PM

With the media reporting death tolls you would be forgiven for being alarmed - until, like me, you looked at the mortality rate for any of the normal seasonal flu strains. So far this winter (yeah, it's winter here smile ) we're not even close to those figures.

I had the Hong Kong flu in 1969 - not nice!
Posted by: abcdefg

Re: Swine flu prevention - 08/27/09 11:06 PM

My first letter home to the parents this year has the following:

 Stay home if you’re sick.
 Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
 Wash your hands often.
 Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
 Cover your mouth or nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing.
 Try to stay in good general health.
 Get plenty of sleep, be physically active, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids, and eat nutritious food.
 Try not to touch surfaces that may be contaminated with the flu virus.

I also told students they were to wash their hands at my house before starting their lessons. I have paper towels for them to use. One mom, who is a nurse, thinks it is a good idea.
Posted by: John v.d.Brook

Re: Swine flu prevention - 08/28/09 10:03 AM

I know, it's really weird, but my wife can attest to this. I wonder if it's just the body developing enough of an autoimmune system by the time you reach your mid-life or what.
Posted by: Lollipop

Re: Swine flu prevention - 08/28/09 11:35 AM

A virus can only be caught once by a person. Then we become immune to it. That is why vaccines for things like chicken pox work. So as we age, we get sick less often because we have developed immunity to certain pathogens. The exception is that some viruses, like the common cold, mutate often, so they can be passed back and forth a few times, slightly different each time, but enough to get around our immunity. That is why scientists have not been able to come up with a vaccine for the common cold.

Because children have not had the chance to build up immunity, they get sick more often. And people who work with children - medical, teachers, etc, therefore get exposed to more things.

(In my former life, I was in the health field.)
Posted by: gooddog

Re: Swine flu prevention - 08/28/09 06:31 PM

Sorry to nitpick but you can catch a virus more than once if you don't get a bad enough case of it and your immune system is not activated enough. My brother had chicken pox 3 times and my dad had it twice. As far as the chicken pox vaccine working, it does but we don't yet know how long the vaccine works so there is some speculation that booster shots may be necessary. Also chicken pox vaccine has been implicated in adult shingles.

On a happier note, it looks like old codgers of my generation may still have immunity against small pox from the vaccine we all got as babies.

You are correct about the ease at which viruses mutate but sometimes the mutuation is slight enough that the old antibodies are still effective. And you are correct that as we age we have been exposed to more sicknesses so we have better immunity. I read a study that stated that children who are exposed to more sickness (e.g. day care, play dates) or dirt (e.g. farms) have stronger immune systems than children kept in very clean homes away from of other kids' runny noses and fevers. These children also have a lower incidence of lymphoma. So all that "rolling around in each other's germs" actually makes kids stronger. (Yes, this is a perfect excuse for not cleaning your house. laugh

Just be warned that if you are a new teacher, you can expect to get sick a lot so it is especially important for you to wash your hands and piano keys. After raising 3 kids and teaching public school for 10 years I'll occasionally get swollen glands when a virus is making the rounds at school, but a good night's sleep puts me straight and I very rarely (knock on piano) get sick.

(In my present life I'm a science teacher and in my former life I was in a health field too.)
Posted by: Andromaque

Re: Swine flu prevention - 08/28/09 08:49 PM

In addition to good hygiene, I would suggest that you must invest in a regular supply of Purell or similar alcohol based sanitizers. Each student should be asked to use some before touching your keyboard. You ought to use some a few times a day yourself, especially after manipulating a child's belongings, e.g. pencils / books etc.. Minimize contact (hugs, handshakes etc). Do not teach a child (or adult) with open flu-like symptms (ie sneezing, coughing etc).
It is true that, for most people, the swine flu manifested in an indistinguishable fashion from any other upper respiratory virus. But it is also undeniable that some people young and old got very ill or died. No matter the statistics, one should not take chances or be too cavalier about simple preventive measures...
Posted by: gooddog

Re: Swine flu prevention - 08/28/09 10:08 PM

Fortunately, I have a sink in my classroom so I encourage hand washing. Soap and water are actually better than Purell as demonstrated by hospital nurses who use hand sanitizer in most rooms, except those of contagious patients. There they use soap and water.

Another important tip: Make sure your students (piano or otherwise) dispose of their dirty tissues outside your studio or classroom. Sitting next to a trash can filled with dirty tissues is a sure way to get sick.
Posted by: Andromaque

Re: Swine flu prevention - 08/29/09 01:57 AM

Actually hospitals have switched largely to alcohol-based solutions, although detergents including soap and water, are not discredited. Pre-operative hand scrubbing by surgeons and other personnel was also changed to a simple application of alcohol based sanitizers without any brushes. Multiple studies have shown the superiority of alcohol based products and their greater acceptability (and thus compliance) rates.
Of course, "soap and water" is also good, when and if it is available. You will need to provide disposable hand towels with that, preferably..
Posted by: gooddog

Re: Swine flu prevention - 08/29/09 01:38 PM

That's odd. When my son was recently in a children's hospital he was put in temporary isolation until they ruled out contagious diseases. The nurses explained to me that soap and water is best and the doctors and nurses all abandoned the hand sanitizer, donned gowns and washed their hands with soap and water before leaving his room.
Posted by: Stanny

Re: Swine flu prevention - 08/29/09 01:45 PM

Originally Posted By: Barb860

Stanny's idea of having the disposable towels is good.
I should have been doing this all along...


Actually, the towels are not disposable....they are cloth, but they are one use towels and will be placed in a bin under the sink after use. I ordered 24 of them, so will need to wash them each week.
Posted by: diinin

Re: Swine flu prevention - 08/29/09 05:45 PM

Originally Posted By: Mark...
So far this virus doesn't seem any worse that the yearly flu we see every year. This one is just getting more media attention. Hand washing with soap and hot water is the best. 15 seconds minimum. Many sanitizers/disinfectants cause bugs to morph into stronger bugs.

Send sick kids home and like someone said don't touch your face. Get the flu shot. Eat well get rest and don't stress out on this flu...


But here's the problem. (I'm an ICU nurse, BTW). This virus was very active over the summer, even in the Northern Hemisphere, when the conditions for the flu virus are normally unfavorable. The fact that it was so active at such an unlikely time is ominous. It is also hitting people in their prime. Further, when it combines with the seasonal flu, we will get still more variations. The flu is highly unpredictable, especially a new strain. This could turn out to be more serious than people realize.

While antibiotics (oral and IV/IM) do cause super-bugs, I'm not aware that that's been proven with our hand soaps. Also, hand sanitizers are said to be effective on the flu virus and most other bugs, except C-diff.

The most important thing for people to know is that the flu is RESPIRATORY. There is no such thing as the stomach flu. If you have no respiratory symptoms, you do not have the flu (some kids have had some nausea/vomiting with H1N1, which is unusual, but still it's not the primary symptom). If you think you have a bad cold, you may have the flu. THAT is where the challenge lies--discerning a bad cold from the flu.

I agree not to stress out about it, though.
Posted by: gooddog

Re: Swine flu prevention - 08/29/09 06:10 PM

Originally Posted By: diinin
Also, hand sanitizers are said to be effective on the flu virus and most other bugs, except C-diff.



Ah ha. That explains the hand washing when my son was in the hospital. There were indeed ruling out C-diff. (Clostridium difficile).
Posted by: Jeff Clef

Re: Swine flu prevention - 08/29/09 07:18 PM

As I understand it, fever is the one big symptom that tells you whether you have a mere cold or the more serious flu, which kills tens of thousands of people, just in the US, even in an ordinary year. Then, there are the terrible flu years like 1918, when even the youngest and strongest are killed in a matter of days (twenty million deaths worldwide, by some estimates--- with a much lower world population). That is what the health experts are trying to forestall, as you can well imagine that there is no possibility that everyone could be treated.

Not that I'm unsympathetic with anyone who's ill, but it has bothered me for a long time that people seem to feel it's quite ok to go out in public and spread these communicable diseases to whomever they share a space with. Classroom, piano keyboard, subway car, airplane, office--- you name it. Of course, there's a lot of pressure on people to do this from employers, airlines, schools, etc., because it would cost them money and some inconvenience to do otherwise. But a lot of people, it seems to me, just don't care what happens to the other guy... and I would be glad to see this change.

One would think that even the simplest of infection control devices, like the handkerchief, had never been invented, let alone staying home until you feel better.

I think maybe the easier and quicker hand-sanitizer method is preferred by health workers partly because washing the hands with soap twenty times during the work day is pretty rough on the skin. But... if you want to find a really excellent population of germs, what better place to look than a doctor's waiting room?

For the rest of us, hand-washing is probably the best.
Posted by: gooddog

Re: Swine flu prevention - 08/29/09 07:41 PM

Originally Posted By: Jeff Clef
But... if you want to find a really excellent population of germs, what better place to look than a doctor's waiting room?

Sorry to keep this non-musical thread going but what Jeff said brought something else to mind. When you visit the doctor's office, do yourself a favor and do not use the pens that are available at the receptionist's desk and do not read the magazines. Who knows what kind of illness the last person who used them had? Bring your own pen and reading matter.
Posted by: Andromaque

Re: Swine flu prevention - 08/29/09 09:04 PM

Originally Posted By: Jeff Clef

For the rest of us, hand-washing is probably the best.


I would not want to be misunderstood about hand washing. I am not underestimating it. It is key. HOWEVER, access to hand washing is not always easy (or sanitary). In fact, taps, sink surfaces, bathroom door handles and even soap bars are often cultured for a wide variety of germs. A little tip here: When you wash your hands, especially in a public area, you should avoid contact with these surfaces after you wash. The best way would be of course "no-touch activators" that turn the tap on and off and open the door automatically. Alternatively, use a dry paper towel to turn the tap off and open the door..
The above limitations (and the poor compliance rates)have led to the development of automatic sanitizer dispensers. Their efficacy against most bacteria and viruses (not all) is not questionable and their use in what may prove to be an upcoming epidemic is beneficial to all. Many schools now have them (at least in my neck of the woods). Piano teachers would be wise to consider upgrading their sanitation efforts since they do not have control over students outside their studios and are in the relatively high risk category, much like doctors and their waiting rooms!
I apologize for the diatribe, but the subject matter is important and the data clear cut.