Stay Healthy and Happy: Wash Your Hands

December 02, 2019

‘Tis the season… for cold and flu. There are several ways germs spread, but the most common is from contaminated hands. This is why handwashing is so important, especially during cold and flu season. However, there are some simple things we can do to protect ourselves and our loved ones. Washing hands often will lessen the chances you will get and spread germs. Get the whole family involved and help everyone stay happy and healthy.

According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC) here are some key times you should wash your hands:

- Before, during, and after preparing food

- Before eating food

- Before and after caring for someone at home who is sick with vomiting or diarrhea

- 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

These are all situations where the risk of germs being present is high. Though it may seem like a lot at first, handwashing can become a habit that doesn’t take long and has great benefits.

Follow these five steps recommended by the CDC every time you wash your hands, soon it will become a healthy habit!

  1. Wet your hands with clean, running water (warm or cold), turn off the tap, and apply soap
  2. Lather your hands by rubbing them together with the soap. Lather the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails.
  3. Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds. Need a timer? Hum the “Happy Birthday” song from beginning to end twice.
  4. Rinse your hands well under clean, running water.
  5. Dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry them.

Here is a helpful video from the World Health Organization, which demonstrates the proper way to wash your hands thoroughly.

If you can’t wash your hands, the next best option is to use hand sanitizer. Choose an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol and follow these instructions from the CDC.

  1. Apply the gel product to the palm of one hand (read the label to learn the correct amount).
  2. Rub your hands together.
  3. Rub the gel over all the surfaces of your hands and fingers until your hands are dry. This should take around 20 seconds.

Remember to wash your hands as soon as you can; since hand sanitizer does not remove all germs and may not be as effective if hands are visibly soiled or greasy and apply lotion as needed to prevent dryness.

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