A NURSE has started a petition to get hand sanitiser in all schools across the country.

Marianne Wood is calling on the government to fund hand sanitiser dispenser units in all secondary and primary schools in the UK.

The chemotherapy nurse from Blewbury, set up the petition six weeks ago and has already received 3,431 signatures out of her aim of 5,000.

As a parent of a nine-year-old girl and with a professional medical background, Ms Wood understands the importance of washing hands properly.

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Ms Wood said: “I came up with the idea in November last year, it all started when my little girl was off school with a stomach bug, it just went through the school.

“I have been in healthcare for more than 20 odd years and I don’t understand why there is not hand sanitiser in the schools.

“There is hand sanitiser in GP surgeries and in hospitals, and I just thought children are little carriers and they can get pretty unwell, but when they give the bug to the parents, the parents in turn get really unwell and so do the teachers, it’s a knock on affect for everybody.

“That’s what the campaign is about keeping everybody well. It’s such a simple solution.”

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Ms Wood believes installing hand sanitiser units will help prevent children from transmitting germs and it will protect them against viruses such as Covid-19.

On her Change.org petition page she wrote: “Such outbreaks as Covid-19 stop our children and their teachers attending school. The Department of Health asserts that 60 per cent of school absenteeism is a result of illness such as the common cold.”

However, according to a study in 2019 by the American Society for Microbiology, soap is better than hand gel.

The study suggests using running water and soap to wash your hands is more effective than using a small amount of hand sanitiser gel and not rubbing it in properly.

Nevertheless, hand sanitiser is still better than not washing your hands at all. On Ms Wood’s petition page she wrote: “Our hands are the primary cause for transmitting germs and according to the US Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, 80 per cent of all infections are transmitted via our hands either by touching people or by touching surfaces.”

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Ms Wood believes the children in schools should be washing their hands with both soap and water as well as hand sanitiser.

She said: “I think it’s absolutely key for both soap and hand sanitiser to be used, definitely. As we know with Covid-19, children are our little host carriers and it’s the same with other viruses.”

The parent and nurse aims to get the hand sanitiser in schools with government funding by the time children and teenagers return to school.

For the government to acknowledge Ms Wood’s fight for hand sanitiser the petition will need to reach 10,000 signatures. However, for the government to actually debate the issue in parliament she will need to get 100,000 signatures.

Ms Wood wrote on her petition page: “Support this petition to equip schools with Government funded hand sanitisers in our fight against germs that put our children at risk and disrupts their education.

"All hospitals and GP practices up and down the county have hand sanitiser units and now it’s time to install them in all schools. “

To sign the petition and help Ms Wood get hand sanitiser in schools visit Change.org and search for “‘STOP the SPREAD’ let’s get Hand sanitizer in all schools ready for our children’s return.”