Foundation Achievement Standard Lesson 2 – Trachoma Germ
INTRODUCTION FOR TEACHERS
Trachoma is an infectious eye disease caused by the bacteria Chlamydia trachomatis.
In Australia trachoma is now only found in remote Aboriginal communities and still occurs in 2/3 of the outback where living conditions are not good, due to inappropriate structures, overcrowding, and issues with clean running water, electricity and rubbish collection. The lack of these facilities creates an environment where it is difficult to maintain good hygiene practices and increases the spread of trachoma and other infectious diseases.
It is mainly small children who have active trachoma; and if they have eye and nose secretions the infection is easily spread directly to other family members and friends while playing. Sleeping together and sharing bedding or towels also helps to spread the infection.
Without keeping faces clean the trachoma infection will be repeated over and over, leading to painful scarring under the eyelids. This causes the eyelashes to turn inward and damages the eyes further. Without treatment, trachoma can lead to blindness when people are older.
The main message is ‘washing faces and hands whenever they are dirty’ stops the spread of trachoma – CLEAN FACES = STRONG EYES.
BACKGROUND INFO WHEN CHATTING TO KIDS
WHAT IS TRACHOMA?
Trachoma is an eye sickness, caused by a bacteria germ which has been around since the dinosaurs.
It is an infection under the eyelid that can cause sore, itchy and sticky eyes in kids and later on, can cause in-turned eye lashes and blindness in adults.
Trachoma is more common in young children who live in outback communities in crowded houses with things like broken taps and showers so children can’t shower or wash their faces and hands.
HOW DO WE KNOW IF WE HAVE TRACHOMA?
An Aboriginal Health Worker or nurse can flip your eyelids to see if you have trachoma – it looks like little dots under your eyelid and can make your eyes feel sore and itchy
BUT, sometimes you don’t even know you have it. Trachoma doesn’t always cause sore eyes or other signs, so its very important for you to have your eyes checked regularly.
WHAT CAN HAPPEN IF WE DONT GET CHECKED FOR TRACHOMA?
If kids don’t know they have trachoma, they may spread the trachoma germs to others without knowing
AND If trachoma is not treated it can make people go blind when they are older.
WHAT HAPPENS IF WE HAVE TRACHOMA?
The Aboriginal Health worker or nurse will give you medicine to treat trachoma.
If you or someone in your house has trachoma, then EVERYONE who lives and sleeps in your house needs trachoma medicine.
WHAT CAN WE DO TO STOP TRACHOMA?
- Clean snot from your nose, and muck from around the eyes
- Look in the mirror to check if your face is clean
- Wash your face and hands when they are dirty
- Have a swim in the pool, waterhole or river
- Keep things clean, clear up rubbish
- Shoo away flies from your eyes
- Wash blankets, clothes, pillows and towels
- Teach your little brothers and sisters about keeping a clean face to stop trachoma germs spreading
- Parents should encourage kids to have a shower each night
Further trachoma resources are available at: http://iehu.unimelb.edu.au
Download and print the cartoon strip poster – how many depends on the number of groups you use or just one for the whole class
Have a whiteboard & markers ready or blank A3 paper
Pencils for drawing
Download and print lyric sheet for “Ain’t No Germs On Me” song
Explain that germs are invisible and can make you sick if they get inside your body.
Describe some locations where germs may live. e.g. toilet, kitchen, tissue after blowing nose, in the muck around your eyes, in the snot in your nose
Students discuss the process of washing hands, using soap, rinsing, drying. Explain that the length of time they should be washing with soap is the time it takes them to sing the whole of “Happy Birthday” Discuss the importance of washing faces and keeping the muck from eyes and snot from noses by blowing to stop the Trachoma germ.
Choose one of the following options:
Working individually: draw pictures for each stage of the process, on a cartoon strip.
Working in small groups: in groups of 4, allocate a particular action for each child to draw. As a group they paste the 4 pictures in the correct order on their cartoon strip.
Working as a whole class: draw pictures for a variety of places you can find germs and make into a class poster. Write a little message under each student’s drawing.
OR draw pictures of how to stop germs e.g. wash hands, wash faces, keep muck from the eyes, blow noses, wash body daily, wear clean clothes, wash blankets, pillows, sheets regularly, brush teeth etc
“Ain’t No Germs On Me” Action Song
Put a copy of “There Ain’t No Germs On Me” song on the board without the suggested variations as we would like the students to instigate the ideas themselves. Teach students following these steps:
1) Sing through first verse. Ask them to suggest ideas of other places or times when washing hands is a good idea, E.g. after playing, before cooking, before eating.
2) Sing second verse.
3) Ask them to suggest ideas of other places or times when washing hands is a good idea, E.g. after playing, before cooking, before eating. Write suggestions on the board.
4) Add one suggested idea to the song at a time
5) Sing each verse as it is created
6) Add actions to the song with student suggestions.
Revise and sing each morning for a week to ensure the students learn the messages.