December is Hand Washing Awareness Monthby Phillips Clinic on 12/03/23
Keeping hands clean is one of the best ways to prevent the spread of infection and illness.
Handwashing is easy to do and it's one of the most effective ways to prevent the spread of many types of infection and illness in all settings—from your home and workplace to child care facilities and hospitals. Clean hands can stop germs from spreading from one person to another and throughout an entire community.
When should you wash 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
to wash your hands
· Wet your hands with clean, running water (warm or cold), turn off the tap, and apply soap.
· Lather your hands by rubbing them together with the soap. Be sure to lather the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails.
· Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds. Need a timer? Hum the "Happy Birthday" song from beginning to end twice.
· Rinse your hands well under clean, running water.
· Dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry them.
Why wash your hands
People frequently touch their eyes, nose, and mouth without even realizing it. Germs can get into the body through the eyes, nose and mouth and make us sick.
Germs from unwashed hands can get into foods and drinks while people prepare or consume them. Germs can multiply in some types of foods or drinks, under certain conditions, and make people sick.
Removing germs through handwashing helps prevent diarrhea and respiratory infections.
Teaching people about Handwashing helps everyone stay healthy.
According to the CDC, washing hands prevents illnesses and substantially reduces the spread of infections to others.
· Reduces the number of people who get sick with diarrhea by 31% .
· Reduces diarrhea illness in people with weakened immune systems by 58%.
· Reduces respiratory illnesses, like colds, in the general population by 16-21% .
Washing hands with soap and water is the best way to reduce the number of germs on them . If soap and water are not available, an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol is a good substitute. Alcohol-based hand sanitizers can quickly reduce the number germs on hands, but sanitizers do not eliminate all types of germs.