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Children's attractions stepping up in fight against germs

Children's attractions stepping up in fight against germs



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SALT LAKE CITY -- Places where kids congregate are getting plenty of extra attention in the face of the H1N1 virus.

At the Discovery Gateway Children's Museum in downtown Salt Lake City, the staff has always been waging germ warfare, but now it's in full combat mode. Group services and events coordinator Alissa Buckingham says when your primary demographic is known for putting things in their mouths all the time, you have to be on guard.

"It's always been a concern," she says. "We've always been vigilant about making sure that nothing comes of it, you know, that parents feel comfortable and kids feel comfortable. We understand that kids like to touch - that's how they learn and that's how they play -- and we are very careful about making sure that it's a safe environment."

Since the onset of the spread of H1N1, or swine flu, Buckingham says that vigilance has only increased.

"We have installed new and more hand sanitizer machines around the museum," she says, "accessible to kids and adults alike. We've also increased our cleaning times per day. Our staff has been trained to be very vigilant in making sure that things are cleaned. If we see something being put into someone's mouth, it's immediately taken off the floor and deep-cleaned."

That's on top of running a deep-clean machine at night to make sure the hands-on museum is as germ-free as it can be.

The museum has also put a lot of signs up, reminding parents about good hand-washing and when to do it.

The CDC has updated information about the spread of H1N1 virus to date and vaccine supplies on its website. In addition, the CDC offers the following tips to help prevent the spread of both seasonal and swine flu:

  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs spread that way.
  • Stay home if you get sick. CDC recommends that you stay home from work or school and limit contact with others to keep from infecting them.

E-mail: bbruce@ksl.com

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Becky Bruce

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