Tuesday, December 4, 2018 3:36 PM

Avoiding Illness Begins With Washing Your Hands

As youngsters we’re taught to wash our hands before eating meals, but it’s important to remember germs don’t care what time of day it is. Clean hands prevent illness.

Now that flu season is here, let’s review some handy tips from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to protect you, your family and others.

Do it right!

Experts recommend washing your hands with soap and clean water for at least 20 seconds.

Memorize these five handwashing steps

  • Step 1: Wet your hands with clean, running water (cold or warm) and apply soap
  • Step 2: Lather your hands by rubbing them together with the soap. Don’t forget the backs of your hands, between your fingers and under your nails.
  • Step 3: Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds. Need a timer? Hum the “Happy Birthday” song from the beginning to end twice
  • Step 4: Rinse your hands well under clean, running water
  • Step 5: Dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry them 

When soap and water are not available...

Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Make sure you have enough sanitizer to make it last on your hands for 20-30 seconds.

Alcohol-based hand sanitizers can quickly lower the number of germs on hands in some situations, but doesn’t work if your hands are visibly dirty or greasy. However, sanitizers do not eliminate all types of germs and might not remove harmful chemicals.

Practice the 4 principles of hand awareness

(Endorsed by the American Medical Association and American Academy of Family Physicians)
  • Wash your hands when they are dirty and before eating
  • Do not cough into hands
  • Do not sneeze into hands
  • Don’t put your fingers in your eyes, nose or mouth.

Remember regular handwashing, particular before and after certain activities, is one of the best ways to remove germs, avoid getting sick and prevent the spread of germs to others. It’s quick, it’s simple and it can keep us all from getting sick.

Handwashing is a win for everyone, except germs!