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PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — It’s Global Hand-washing Day and keeping your hands clean may be a big key to staying healthy.

Health officials are especially concerned about the upcoming cold and flu season. Last year, there were a record 80,000 flu-related deaths.

Hand-washing is one of the best ways to avoid getting sick. Some Philadelphia students got a hands-on lesson Monday.

Gunky Gus made a special appearance at Bache-Martin School. Gus represents germs and is a fun way for preschoolers to learn about the importance of hand washing. With the beginning of cold and flu season, it’s a timely lesson.

“We know clean hands are important because according to the CDC, it’s the No. 1 most simple and effective thing that we can do to stop the spread of germs,” Diane Engler of health and hygiene company Essity said.

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Essity is launching its free hand-washing education program to all schools in the Philadelphia region.

“The goal of the our program is to create fun and engaging education so that students know how to wash their hands and they stay healthy and they know when to wash their hands as well,” Engler said.

They used simulated germs that glow under a black light to teach the kids. The students learn about the importance of using water and soap and scrubbing for 20 seconds —  or singing two rounds of “Happy Birthday.”

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After washing their hands, the students’ hands go back under the black light to see if they got rid of all the germs.

The students were taught that there are certain times when hand-washing is especially important: after using the bathroom, before eating and after playtime.

It’s a good reminder for adults, too.

Stephanie Stahl