Tuscarora students uncover the truth about germs

By Madeline Swank

The flu season has begun, and students should be starting to take precautions. But do they?

Earlier this year, biology classes at Tuscarora conducted experiments that determined what areas of the school contain the highest amounts of germs. Students were split into groups; they then chose an area of the school to swab.

For the experiment, the students took an infected swab and rubbed it onto a petri dish containing a bacteria-inducing substance called blood agar. The petri dishes were incubated at 37˚C for 48 hours. Afterwards, students were instructed to count the colonies of bacteria.

In Dr. Kagan’s 5th block class, the most bacteria that was counted was 25 colonies. The group that recorded this data also found E. coli growing in their dish. What was the area that these students swabbed?

Our very own gym bleachers.

The other most infected areas in the school were the data pads in the lunchroom and the weight room.

With all this bacteria thriving in the frequently used areas of our school, people may start to wonder what students do, or don’t do, to prevent themselves from catching the flu.

Out of 80 students surveyed, 63% say that they wash their hands in order to prevent themselves from getting sick.

“I use hand sanitizer and wash my hands at every opportunity,” says sophomore Gillian King.

Aside from just washing their hands, students also have their own methods of keeping the flu bug away, such as taking vitamins, getting a good night’s sleep, and covering their mouth when they cough.

Most students take the precautionary route to avoid sickness, but others let nature take its course. Around 6% of the 80 students surveyed said that they do nothing to prevent themselves from getting sick.

Another survey was taken to determine whether the precautionary methods of students were effective. In the past few weeks, 35% of the 80 students surveyed said that they have been sick. 42% said they were sick a few months ago, and 23% said they were sick in the past year.

It seems that most Tuscarora students can keep the bug away. Can you?