Monday, December 11, 2017

Handwashing

Doorknobs, countertops, keyboards, phones…the list of things we touch that may be covered in germs is endless. Would you like to know the secret to staying healthy this winter? WASH YOUR HANDS! Studies have shown that handwashing can prevent 1 in 3 diarrhea-related sicknesses and 1 in 5 respiratory infections, such as a cold or the flu.

Why is handwashing so important? People often touch their eyes, nose and mouth without realizing it, allowing germs to enter their bodies. Germs from unwashed hands can get into food and drinks when people prepare or consume them, and they can also be transferred to other objects (such as doorknobs, tables or toys). By washing your hands properly, at key times throughout the day, you can stop the spread of germs, keeping yourself and your family healthy this winter.

Tips to remember:
1.      Soap is a must. Washing your hands with soap is more effective than using water alone. Surfactants, the compounds in soap, help to “lift off” or remove soil and microbes (germs) from your skin. People also tend to scrub their hands more thoroughly when using soap, which helps to remove more germs.
2.      Hot or cold? It doesn’t matter. The temperature of the water doesn’t appear to affect microbe (germ) removal. Germs are essentially being “lifted off” your hands with soap and manual labor (scrubbing), and rinsed down the drain by running water.
3.      Don’t sell yourself short. Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds. Need a timer? Hum the “Happy Birthday” song twice from beginning to end.
4.      Be thorough. Clean all areas of your hands, including often missed spots like the backs of your hands, in between your fingers, and under your nails.
5.      Hand sanitizer is an option. If you don’t have access to soap and water, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Use enough sanitizer to cover all surfaces of your hands, and don’t rinse or wipe it off before it’s dry. Hand sanitizer may not kill all germs, especially if your hands are visibly dirty or greasy.

To read more visit http://www.clintonhealth.org/handwashing.