(Human body for ages 3+)
You’ve probably heard about the coronavirus that is making its way around the world right now (March 2020). It causes COVID-19, a disease in the lungs and airways (called a respiratory disease) that can be similar to the flu.
If you catch it, you might have a cough, fever, body aches, and it might be difficult to breath. Most people who get this disease will hardly feel sick and may easily get better. For other people though, this disease can be very dangerous and make them extremely sick. (If you would like to know more about COVID-19, you can read our article about it by clicking here – Coronavirus.
Though scientists and doctors are working as hard as possible to find a cure for this new disease, the best thing we can to protect ourselves and others is to practice good hygiene like washing our hands. Just running your hands under warm water for a few seconds doesn’t count.
You need to use soap and lather up every inch for at least 20 seconds. But why is soap so important? The video above shows a neat activity to demonstrate the difference that soap makes. Here is how you can repeat this at home:
Ground black pepper
Adult supervision (Adult supervision at all times please)
- Add some water to your bowl. You do not need a bunch, but the water should be about an inch deep. A little more or a little less is fine
- Sprinkle some ground black pepper on the water.
- Now, dip your finger into the pepper water. What happens to the pepper? Does it get on your finger?
- Wipe any pepper off of your finger with a towel or napkin.
- This time, add some soap to your finger. If you are using liquid soap, just a drop is enough. If you are using bar soap, work up a light lather.
- Dip your soapy finger in the pepper water again. Now what happen to the pepper? Did you get any on your finger this time?
In this activity, the black pepper represents germs, like the coronavirus, flu virus, or bacteria. Germs like these are always around, on doorknobs, light switches, toys, and on our bodies. Sometimes these germs can really hurt people and make them very sick, so it is important to keep ourselves and our surroundings as clean as possible.
Soaps work by breaking the surface tension of water and removing any germs that might be on our hands or other surfaces. This is why it is so important to wash our hands WITH soap, not just water. Remember, it is important to wash our hands all the time, not just when people are getting sick.
There are always germs around, and even though they might not make you sick, you might accidentally pass them to someone else that could get very sick. Practicing good hygiene is one of the best ways to keep yourself and the people around you safe and healthy.