Think about how often you (or your children) were sick when you first started school – exposure to multiple other children, as well as all the bacteria and viruses they carry, often leads to increased occurrences of illness. Now that school is out for the summer, children are spending more time at home, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t exposed to germs. Consider their time back-and-forth from the playground, the soccer field, and indoor gyms, leaving them exposed to a whole new set of germs. One of the simplest and most effective methods for stopping the spread of germs and protecting yourself from them is proper hand washing technique.
Yes! There’s a right way to wash hands! Keep reading…
When to Wash Your Hands
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) offer guidance concerning some of the most common situations when hand washing is a necessity:
- Wash your hands before handling any type of food. This prevents germs from transferring from your body to your food, which others might share.
- Hand washing should be part of your cooking routine – before, during, and after. Regular hand washing between phases of cooking can help prevent cross-contamination and food borne illnesses.
- Wash your hands after touching any type of bodily fluid, your own or anyone else’s. For example, wash your hands after changing your child’s diaper or after caring for someone who is sick and vomiting.
- Hand washing can also prevent the spread of germs between people and their pets. Wash your hands after handling any type of pet food, treats, toys, or bedding.
- Wash your hands after using the toilet, treating a wound, coughing, or sneezing.
How to Wash Your Hands the Right Way
While it’s vital to know when to wash your hands, you must also know how to wash them the right way:
- Rinse your hands with warm running water.
- Apply soap and lather your hands entirely, including between your fingers and the backs of your hands.
- Scrub for about 20 seconds. An easy way to time this is to hum or sing the “Happy Birthday” song in your head while you wash.
- Rinse your hands well.
- Dry them with a clean cloth towel, paper towel, or air dryer.
Staying Clean When Hand Washing Is Not an Option
Surprisingly, many people simply forego hand washing when it seems like it’s not feasible. If you find yourself outdoors for an extended amount of time or you use a portable restroom without hand washing facilities, a bottle of hand sanitizer can help keep your hands clean and spread germs. However remember… hand sanitizer is not a replacement for proper hand washing.
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