Why Is Hand Washing So Important?
The simplest thing people can do to protect themselves from the spread of disease is to wash their hands frequently. Washing your hands denies diseases an easy entry point into your body.
If you do not wash your hands frequently, you pick up germs from other sources and infect yourself when you touch your eyes, your nose, or your mouth. One of the most common ways people catch colds is by rubbing their nose or their eyes after their hands have been contaminated with various viruses that cause colds.
You can also spread germs directly to others or onto surfaces that other people touch and before you know it, everybody around you are getting sick. The important thing to remember is that, in addition to colds, serious diseases like infectious diarrhea and meningitis can easily be prevented if people make a habit of washing their hands.
When to clean (at a minimum):
- After using the restroom
- Before eating or snacking
- After eating or snacking
- Between handling raw, cooked or ready-to-eat food
- After handling anything that could potentially transfer germs
- After using a tissue or handkerchief
- After physical contact with other people
- Before and after attending to sick children or other family members.
- After physical contact with pets
- After smoking
*(Note: Maintain your cultural awareness and ensure that no cultural insult is conveyed when you do this.)
How to clean (techniques):
- Remove any jewelry.
- Wet your hands thoroughly with clean, running water, leaving water running.
- Apply soap and lather well for a minimum of 20 to 25 seconds.
- Rub hands palm to palm.
- Rub back of each hand with the palm of other the hand with fingers interlaced.
- Rub palm to palm with fingers interlaced.
- Rub with backs of fingers to opposing palms with fingers interlocked.
- Rub each thumb clasped in opposite hand using rotational movement.
- Rub tips of fingers in opposite palm in circular motion.
- Rub each wrist with opposite hand.
- If dirt is still present, apply more water and soap.
- Rinse hands with water.
- Dry hands thoroughly with a clean paper towel.
- use the paper towel to turn water off faucet.
* Proper hand washing should take between 40 – 60 seconds.
* Hand washing is the single most important individual protective measure a person can take to prevent the spread of disease.
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