Can you think of ways to share CMV (cytomegalovirus) prevention tips in honor of June as National Cytomegalovirus Month?
Some of you have been posting one CMV fact a day on your Facebook pages--good idea! At the bottom of this post, I include links to flyers from the CDC, etc., that you may wish to send out.
I got the idea to create the above CMV prevention goody bags for the children at Riverfront Children's Center in Groton, Connecticut, from Jessica Rachels of the Idaho CMV Advocacy Project who donated goody bags to her local head start programs. In my bags, which the curriculum director said might be something the staff could work into their STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math) theme*, I followed my motto, "Share a Meal, Not the Germs!" My goal is to teach children, their families, and child care staff the importance washing hands before setting the table and eating, and to never share cups, etc, through my "color-me-in" fairytale, Once Upon a Placemat: A table Setting Tale. In addition to what the children got in their bags (coloring book, crayons, plastic tableware, bathroom sink sign and Placemat with tableware characters), I gave the staff a different bathroom sink sign to remind them that diaper wipes do not kill CMV! (See: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1wcGpHOfu3lLKl9vYR_KhI5LIqI_h1tvC/view)
You can write an article about CMV and ask your local media to publish it. Mine, "June: National Cytomegalovirus Month: Had I Known (about CMV)," was published in the magazine, Groton-Mystic Neighbors (June 2018). This coverage resulted in an invitation to speak at the local chapter of the teacher's sorority, ADK.
When I contacted Connecticut's News 8 about June and CMV, a reporter and cameraman came to my home to discuss it with Dr. Brenda Balch and the singer/songwriter, Debra Lynn Alt. The News 8 reporter, Sarah Cody, created a short video to promote her upcoming CMV coverage: https://www.
Another way to raise awareness is through music. My friend, singer/songwriter Debra Lynn Alt, was shocked to learn there are so many mothers of children born disabled by CMV who never heard of CMV when pregnant--never been given the chance to protect their unborn babies. She felt inspired to write and release the song, "Had I Known (about CMV) in June, which was featured on CT's News 8. The studio recording of the CMV song, with Debra Lynn Alt as lead vocalist, includes keyboard and harmony vocals by another friend, Connie Howard, mandolin and guitar (Jim Carpenter), violin (Stacy Phillips), cello (Ann West), and bass (Jeff Fuller). It can be heard at this link: https://drive.google.
Another way to show the media how important their coverage of CMV is, is to write a letter to the editor to keep the topic "hot." The following one of mine was accepted for publication when I commented on the article, Drs. Effie Siomos and Ken Ostermann: Learn about and take precautions to prevent CMV"(June 16, 2018):
I provided the editor of the above publication the following sources for my above comments:
- Caregivers of young children are at increased risk for CMV, the leading birth defects virus that disables 4,000 babies each year in the U.S. (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
- 44 - 100% of two-year-olds in group daycare are excreting CMV (Pass et al., 1986).
- Diaper wipes do not kill CMV (Stowella et al., 2014 ).
- 8 - 20% of child care providers contract CMV infection every year (AAP et al., 2011) VERSUS 1-4% in general population (CDC).
- Mothers of children in group care are also at increased risk for CMV (Pass et al., 1986).
- Only 18.5% of licensed “in-home” daycare providers surveyed have heard of CMV and “Providers do not know how to appropriately sanitize surfaces to reduce spread of disease.” Many use diaper wipes to clean surfaces, which do not sanitize (Thackeray et al., 2016).
- “Women may be able to lessen their risk of getting CMV by reducing contact with saliva and urine from babies and young children. Some ways to do this are: kissing children on the cheek or head rather than the lips, and washing hands after changing diapers. These cannot eliminate your risk of getting CMV, but may lessen your chances of getting it” states the CDC. Download this flyer from the CDC: https://www.cdc.gov/cmv/
GENERAL LIST of CMV Prevention
15. Song for mothers who learned too late about protecting their unborn child from congenital CMV--"Had I Known (about CMV): by Debra Lynn Alt: https://drive.google.com/file/
Above-sink wall flyer for hand-washing, "Diaper Wipes Don't Kill CMV"
- Bag (paper or reusable insulated bag).
- Plate, cup, napkin, fork, spoon, knife.
- Crayons or washable markers.
- Placemat with tableware characters (free pdf for coloring and possible laminating).
- Picnic food (homemade or prepackaged that would use all utensils, such as peanut butter, crackers, applesauce and cake).
- Hand sanitizer or sanitizing wipes.
- Sink hand-washing sign and tri-fold flyer on CMV prevention to take home.
- If funds are available, give a child their own bound copy of Once Upon a Placemat: A Table Setting Tale to color and share with their families so their parents can reinforce the table-setting lesson and learn how to prevent CMV, the #1 birth defects virus, as well as other diseases (book available on Amazon for $5.38).
I asked the curriculum director what she meant by STEAM. She told me STEAM is a popular way to better package and present the interconnectedness of Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math in the regular curriculum. She said, "Too many times people treat these topics as mutually exclusive, when they all work to support the learner and their personal method of learning. I was thinking that when you talk about germs, your book (Art and Literacy), which appeals to the children that have strengths in those areas, and introduces germs (science, biology) in a format that integrates the arts. Drawing and writing activities can be planned to further integrate those domains. Teachers can further bring in Technology and engineering by designing activities that help the children to "invent" equipment or machines to help better wash hands, keep food fresh and germ free, etc. Math can enter into the plan by graphing how long children wash there hands, how often they wash their hands, keep track how many uses the classrooms get out of a single pump bottle of hand soap, etc...That's just a quick example of how your topic can be enhanced by identifying the STEAM components in the concept of germs and health. With a little more thought (and a few trips to Pinterest!) lots of germ based activities can be created and integrated."