We have all experienced it; one of the most important and memorable thing is our childhood which we can never really participate again in…recess! Playing kickball, tag, or just sitting in a swing; a horde of rambunctious children with a sugar high storm the playground at an elementary school. After the usual 20 minutes (half hour if you go to a fun school), the children line up and head back inside the building.
Waiting in line, the children each go to the drinking fountain to quench their thirst from running like animals outside a few moments ago. Finally, they all have their fill of the fresh water and head back to class. Obviously there is a misconception here as to the “order” at the fountain; I remember it was a first come, first serve dash to get to the fountain before everyone else. It wasn’t that we as children were selfish, but some of us knew better than to allow the kid in front of you adequate time to smear their face and lips all over the spout.
This form of water dispensing has been around rough 100 years and has since only changed slightly. It all started when Halsey W. Taylor lost his father to Typhoid Fever and then escalated even more a few years later while he was working as a plant superintendent and noticed Dysentery (which is dangerous for your colon) hit some of the workers.
Taylor believed that these two cases were caused by contaminated drinking water and began to develop a cleaner way to dispense water to people. Since 1912, the Taylor Halsey brand of drinking fountains has been installed in public facilities across the U.S. and can be found in just about any elementary school. Although these drinking fountains may have helped with halting the bacteria of the past, nothing is perfect and sometimes a great product could be contaminated.
There are over 100 million bacteria in an average human’s mouth and many of these (if passed onto someone else) can cause cases of bacterial infection if exposed to them. Not too long ago, the National Sanitation Foundation conducted research on some of the top places within a school that housed germs. The results were startling; with the water fountains being the highest on the list with contamination and the toilet seat and animal cage (no, not for the children during recess) had a much smaller amount found on them.
The UFE team wonders what can be done to prevent those little infestations from roaming around and causing harm to unsuspecting people. First and foremost, these fountains should be disinfected and sanitized much more often (if you are comfortable cleaning a toilet, you can clean a faucet). Washing hands for children is sometimes more of a game or Russian roulette with a high chance of yourself getting drenched with spraying water; but if you can control the children to wash their hands, then make sure the wash and count to “twenty”. For us adults…at least at our office, we have a water cooler instead of a faucet and we do make sure to wipe it down as often as everything around the area (we’re weird like that).