Blog 12/5/2018

Weekly Clinical Service Dose: National Handwashing Awareness Week 2018

The goal of National Handwashing Awareness Week is to decrease the spread of the flu and other infectious diseases by informing individuals to educate and help protect their communities.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) “…the most important thing you can do to keep from getting sick is to wash your hands.”

By frequently washing your hands, you wash away germs that you have picked up from other people, from contaminated surfaces, and from pets.

When to wash your hands:

  • After you cough, sneeze or blow your nose
  • Before you eat or touch food
  • After you use the bathroom
  • After you change a diaper
  • When you come in from working or playing outdoors
  • After you play with a pet, or pick up animal waste
  • How to wash correctly: Alcohol-based hand sanitizers – which don’t require water – are an excellent and convenient alternative to soap and water. If hands are visibly dirty – wash with soap and water.

The steps to hand washing are simple and should be followed every time:

  • Wet your hands – It doesn’t matter if the water is hot or cold.
  • Lather your hands with soap – Don’t forget that the soap needs to get between the fingers and on the backs of your hands. Do you wear rings? Pay attention to these areas that hide germs and lather them too.
  • Scrub – Too many people rush this step; you need to scrub for at least 20 seconds. Remember the “Happy Birthday” song? Sing it to yourself twice to make sure you have scrubbed for enough time.
  • Rinse – Clean hands with running water.
  • Dry – Use a clean towel or air dry.

Since the weather is cold and the air is dry, many people worry about cracked skin with washing hands frequently.

It is still best to wash your hands.

Waterless sanitizer only helps with some germs and should not be the only hand cleansing if your hands are visibly soiled.

After washing your hands you can use a lotion or moisturizer to help reduce cracked skin.

Remember with proper handwashing you are protecting yourself and others from becoming ill.


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