The Importance of Handwashing Day
Washing your hands can help keep you healthy and help prevent the spread of germs. People spread germs when they touch a contaminated surface then touch their eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands. And there is no better time to review the basics of handwashing: Global Handwashing Day is Oct. 15.
How to Wash Your Hands Properly
Washing your hands is simple and it’s one of the most effective ways to prevent the spread of germs. Clean hands can stop germs from spreading from person to person and throughout your household, office or an entire community.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that you follow these five easy steps every time you wash your hands.
1. Wet your hands with clean, running water (warm or cold), turn off the tap and apply soap.
2. Lather your hands by rubbing them together with the soap. Lather the backs of your hands, between your fingers and under your nails.
3. Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds. Need a timer? Hum the “Happy Birthday” song from beginning to end twice.
4. Rinse your hands well under clean, running water.
5. Dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry them.
Wondering whether you should use antibacterial soap? The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) says that there is no evidence proving that antibacterial soap helps kill germs any better than using plain soap and water.
How to Use Hand Sanitizer When You Can’t Use Soap and Water
While washing your hands with soap and water is the best way to get rid of germs on your hands, using hand sanitizer is an effective alternative. Check the label to be sure you are using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Alcohol-based hand sanitizers can quickly reduce the number of germs on hands in some situations. However, sanitizers do not eliminate all types of germs and might not remove harmful chemicals, so you should also follow up by washing your hands with soap and water as soon as possible.
There are easy steps to get the best use from your hand sanitizer.
1. Apply the product to the palm of one hand (read the label to learn the correct amount).
2. Rub your hands together.
3. Rub the product over all surfaces of your hands and fingers until your hands are dry.
Global Handwashing Day serves as a great reminder of the importance of protecting yourself and others through handwashing. For more information on handwashing, use the CDC’s handwashing website.
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