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Handwashing: Why, When & How?

Handwashing is one of the best ways to protect yourself and your family from getting sick. Learn why, when, and how you should wash your hands to stay healthy.

“Did you wash your hands?” How many times did you hear that today? Probably a lot. But why are adults so hung up on handwashing? Is it some kind of fear or they just so in love with lather?

Why should You Need to Wash Your Hands?

Washing hands can keep you healthy and prevent the spread of respiratory and diarrheal infections from one person to the next. Germs can spread from other people or surfaces when you:

  • Touch your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands
  • Prepare or eat food and drinks with unwashed hands
  • Touch a contaminated surface or objects
  • Blow your nose, cough, or sneeze into hands and then touch other people’s hands or common objects

When should You Need to Wash Your Hands?

You can help yourself and your loved ones stay healthy by washing your hands often, especially during these key times when you are likely to get and spread germs:

  • Before, during, and after preparing food
  • Before and after 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

There can also be other times when it is important to wash hands.

 

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How To Wash Your Hands the Right Way?

Washing your hands is easy, and it’s one of the most effective ways to prevent the spread of germs. Clean hands can stop germs from spreading from one person to another and throughout an entire community – from your home and workplace to schools and hospitals.

The next time you’re told to step up to the sink and scrub up, remember these 4 easy steps every time.

  1. Wet your hands with clean, running water, turn off the tap, and apply soap or handwash.
  2. Lather & Scrub Rubbing your hands together. Lather the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails for at least 20 seconds. Need a timer? Hum the “Happy Birthday” song from beginning to end twice.
  3. Rinse your hands well under clean, running water.
  4. Dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry them.
Use Hand Sanitizer When You Can’t Use Soap and Water

Handwashing with soap and water is the best way to get rid of germs in most situations. If soap and water are not readily available, you can use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.

 

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Making Handwashing A Family Activity 🙂

Handwashing is an easy, cheap, and effective way to prevent the spread of germs and keep kids and adults healthy. When your family is healthy, you don’t have to worry about missing school, work, or other activities.

Help your child develop handwashing skills

Parents play an important role in teaching children to wash their hands. Handwashing can become a lifelong healthy habit if you start teaching it at an early age. Teach kids the five easy steps for handwashing – wet, lather, scrub, rinse, and dry. And the key times to wash hands, such as after using the bathroom or before eating. You can find ways to make it fun, like making up your own handwashing song or turning it into a game.

Give Frequent Reminders

Building handwashing skills takes time. At first, your child will need regular reminders of how and when to wash hands. It is especially important to remind children to wash their hands after using the bathroom, before eating, after touching pets, after playing outside, and after coughing, sneezing, or blowing their noses. But once handwashing becomes a habit and a regular part of your child’s day, they will practice it throughout their lives.

Lead by Example By Washing Your Hands

Young children learn by imitating the behaviors of adults in their lives. When you make handwashing part of your routine, you’re setting an example for your children to follow.

 

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