Just Wash Your Hands of It!

What’s one of the easiest, cheapest ways to stay healthy?  To stop spreading illness and infection? Washing your hands!  Seriously.  Hand washing is simple, quick and noninvasive.  Get in the habit of washing your hands frequently (though not compulsively, a la Lady Macbeth!) and see if it doesn’t make a big difference.

When should you do all this hand washing?  Obviously, any time your hands actually look dirty is a good start.  And when your hands are visibly dirty, use soap and water if you can, not an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

Always wash up before:

  • Preparing food.
  • Eating.
  • Touching a sick or injured person.
  • Inserting or removing contacts.
  • Treating wounds.
  • Giving medicine.
Always wash up after:
  • Preparing food – especially raw poultry or meat.
  • Using the toilet.
  • Changing a baby.
  • Blowing your nose.
  • Coughing or sneezing into you hands.
  • Touching an animal, animal playthings, leashes or waste.
  • Touching an injured or ill person.
  • Treating wounds.
  • Handling trash, soiled shoes, a cleaning cloth – anything that might be contaminated.
Here’s how to wash your hands properly – using soap and water:
  • Wet your hands with running water.
  • Apply bar or liquid soap.
  • Lather well.
  • Rub your hands together, with some vigor; scrub all surfaces thoroughly – backs and fronts, wrists, between the fingers, under the nails.
  • Rinse well.
  • Dry your hands thoroughly
  • Turn off the tap with your elbow, or with a piece of paper towel or a hand towel, if possible.  
Cleaning up with hand sanitizer:
  • Apply enough of the gel to the palm of your hand to completely wet your hands.
  • Rub your hands together, covering all surfaces; keep rubbing until your hands are completely dry.
  • Antimicrobial towelettes or wipes are another option here, but they are not as effective as an alcohol-based sanitizer.  Dispose of them carefully.
 Sanitizers are great occasional alternatives to soap and water; be sure whatever one you buy is at least 60% alcohol.  They are also okay for children to use when soap and water is too hard to organize.  Be sure store the stuff safely away between uses.  And, by the way, antibacterial soap is no more effective than good old regular bar soap when it comes to killing germs. 
If you lead by example, it is really easy to instill the clean hands habit in little ones.  Hand washing should be second nature for children, especially in preschools and day care centers.  Make it as easy as possible for them to access a sink at home; praise their efforts, provide soap that’s fun to use and don’t fuss about splash marks on the mirrors.  This goes for grandma’s house, too! You will all be rewarded with far fewer colds and upset tummies.
Have a great weekend!

One response to “Just Wash Your Hands of It!

  1. Pingback: Purell Immediate Hand Sanitizer | Hairdryers

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