Schools and parents are being urged to remind children about the importance of hand-washing to prevent the spread of germs.

The plea has been issued by health chiefs in Bradford, following youngsters’ return to the classroom after the festive holidays. Illnesses spread via hands include sickness, diarrhoea and colds, as well as norovirus – the winter vomiting bug. Dr Andy Withers, clinical chairman of Bradford Districts CCG, said: “Washing hands frequently during the day with hot water and soap can reduce these infections from being passed around. It’s important to instill good hygiene into our children, particularly at this time when they’re back at school and with their friends. This is when infections and viruses can easily spread.

“Children should be reminded how important it is to wash their hands thoroughly, especially after going to the toilet and before they eat their lunch.”