(U-WIRE) Winter not only brings frigid cold but also more illness, including upper respiratory infections.
Mary Lutz, a University of Nebraska doctor, said she is concerned because students don’t wash their hands as often as they should.
Hand washing is a simple way to help prevent illnesses, she said.
“You should wash your hands several times a day and one of those times before you eat,” Lutz said.
To help, every Nebraska dining hall has at least one hand-sanitizing dispenser.
Pam Edwards, assistant director for Dining Services, said UNL installed the dispensers to stop the spread of germs.
“Using hand sanitizers is becoming more prevalent all over the place,” Edwards said. “Even if you are not sick, you have germs on your hands that could be passed to someone else.”
Lutz said hand sanitizers should be a second option to hand washing.
“Hand washing is probably best, but if you don’t have that readily available, then hand sanitizers are a very good option,” she said. “If you were to have any sort of dirt on your hands, sanitizers don’t work as well, but if your hands are free of dirt they would work very well.”
Cheryl Bishop, an employee at Selleck’s dining hall, said she encourages students to use the hand sanitizer before eating.
“I see a lot of people use it when they come in,” Bishop said.
Between 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. at Selleck dining hall on Tuesday, one student, Nate Derenge, a freshman accounting major, used the hand-sanitizing agent. Derenge said he uses the sanitizer because a lot of people have been sick this winter.
“Cleanliness is important to living a healthy lifestyle and lowers the risk of becoming ill,” Derenge said.
UNL is not the only school testing out hand sanitizer. The University of Central Florida, for example, has 32 hand sanitizing dispensers on their campus.
During the past few years, sanitizing agents have become more prevalent. They can be found in grocery stores to wipe carts and gyms to wipe down workout machines.
“We have hand sanitizers outside patient rooms so we use them prior to going in and seeing somebody in between patients to not transmit infection,” Lutz said.
Lutz said she encourages students to buy their own hand sanitizer to use when hand washing is not available.
“Make sure when you buy a hand sanitizer there is at least 60 percent alcohol in it,” Lutz said.