The Importance of Handwashing
With peak flu season right around the corner, Handwashing Awareness Week reminds us how important it is to always wash our hands properly! Washing your hands helps prevent the spread of germs and bacteria. While many people know the importance of washing their hands, few do it properly. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends following these five steps to properly wash your hands:
1. Begin by wetting your hands with clean, running water (hot or cold) then turn off the sink and apply soap.
2. Rub soap on your hands, making sure to lather the backs of your hands, get in between your fingers and under your nails.
3. Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds! To help time yourself, you can hum the “Happy Birthday” song from beginning to end, twice.
4. Rinse your hands well under clean, running water.
5. Use a clean towel to dry your hands or air dry them.
We all know that it’s important to wash our hands throughout the day especially when we are coming into contact with others, handling food or after using the restroom. The CDC has also put together a list of instances when you should be washing your hands:
· Before, during and after preparing food
· Before eating food
· Before and after caring for someone who is sick
· Before and after treating a cut or wound
· After using the toilet
· After changing diapers or cleaning up a child who has used the toilet
· After blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing
· After touching an animal, animal feed or animal waste
· After handling pet food or pet treats
· After touching garbage
While it’s best to wash your hands with soap and water, there may be times that you do not have access. You can use a hand sanitizer with 60% alcohol in the absence of soap and water. While an alcohol-based sanitizer can help decrease germs on your hands, it’s important to know that sanitizers are not able to remove all germs or harmful chemicals.