Person washing hands 311.
(photo credit: Thinkstock/Imagebank)
With holiday gatherings, New Year celebrations, and constant
traveling, hand washing is one of the most important ways to prevent
getting sick and spreading germs. Many illnesses, including the common
cold, are spread by not washing hands properly with soap and water.
According to statistics from the National Library of Medicine, the
common cold accounts for approximately 22 million missed days of school
and 20 million absences from work (which includes time away from work to
care for sick children).
According to experts at the Canadian
Center for Occupational Health and Safety, “Hand washing is the single
most effective way to prevent the spread of infections. You can spread
certain ‘germs’ (a general term for microbes like viruses and bacteria)
by touching another person even casually. You can also catch germs when
you touch contaminated objects or surfaces and then touch your face.”
are everywhere. As people move through their day, touching objects,
surfaces and other people, germs build up on their hands. If people
touch their noses, mouths or eyes without thoroughly washing their
hands, the germs may lead to illness. Although these germs cannot
totally be eliminated, washing hands frequently can help limit the
transfer of viruses, bacteria and other harmful pathogens.
too many people fail to wash their hands properly. According to the
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta, the correct
way to wash your hands is:
•Wet your hands with clean, running water (warm or cold) and apply soap.
your hands together to make a lather and scrub them well; be sure to
scrub the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your
•Continue rubbing 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 running water.
•Dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry them.
To prevent illness, CDC also recommends:
Always wash your hands before:
•Preparing food or eating.
•Treating wounds, giving medicine, or caring for a sick or injured person.
•Inserting or removing contact lenses.
Always wash your hands after:
•Preparing food, especially raw meat or poultry.
•Using the toilet or changing a diaper.
•Touching an animal or animal toys, leashes, or waste.
•Blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing into your hands.
•Treating wounds or caring for a sick or injured person.
garbage, household or garden chemicals, or anything that could be
contaminated — such as a cleaning cloth or soiled shoes.
your hands whenever they look dirty, or after using public
transportation. Keeping your hands clean is one of the most important
ways we can prevent illness and spreading germs. If soap and water are
not available, waterless cleansers are a viable alternative. Make sure
to use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60%
alcohol to clean hands.
This article was first seen at www.newswise.com