Custom pins are even designed to help prevent the flu.

When the flu count reached 40, school officials at a local boarding school knew they had to act fast. Those students with flu-like symptoms whose parents lived nearby were sent home to get well, while others were quarantined together in a separate dorm.

Signs went up all over campus. In the health center, cafeteria, music practice rooms, and bathrooms. “Wash Your Hands & Cover Your Cough,” they read. It was a wake-up call to faculty and students to practice good hygiene, or they could become sick with the flu.

“I know some girls who don’t wash their hands, even after they use the bathroom,” said one student as she rubbed her hands with alcohol gel. “I have a recital coming up and cannot afford to be sick with the flu for five days.”

After a while, the signs and the verbal reminders ceased to be effective, and school administrators realized that they had to do something more. So they checked online and contacted The Monterey Company to create a lapel pin for them.

The designers at The Monterey Company created their lapel pin for free (as part of their overall pin cost). It depicted two open hands, side by side, with a heart in the middle. Across the heart ran the text, “Wash Your Hands & Cover Your Cough.”

“We thought a lapel pin might be effective with teenagers who have a tendency to be a bit vain,” said a teacher. “They’ll notice your earrings before they’ll read a sign on the wall.”

Two hundred of the “Wash Your Hands” lapel pins were ordered and distributed to the school nurses, teachers, and faculty, including cafeteria workers and van drivers. They also asked 30 student leaders to wear them and gave them extras to hand out to other students.

The response was amazing. The number of flu cases on campus dropped in half as personal hygiene picked up. “We have to give a lot of credit to The Monterey Company for designing a great pin and for helping solve our health issue,” said one school official.