Handwashing is One of the Best Ways to Prevent Illness
The simple act of handwashing is one of the best ways you can prevent infection and spread of illness among your family members, and in day cares and schools. So in honor of the annual National Handwashing Awareness Week (December 6-10), we offer these great tips from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on when and how to wash your hands properly.
When should you wash your hands?
- Before and after preparing and eating food
- After using the toilet
- After changing diapers or cleaning up a child who has used the toilet
- Before and after tending to someone who is sick
- After blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing
- After handling an animal or animal waste
- After handling garbage
- Before and after treating a cut or wound
When washing hands with soap and water:
- Wet your hands with clean running water and apply soap. Use warm water if it is available.
- Rub hands together to make a lather and scrub all surfaces.
- Continue rubbing hands for 15-20 seconds. Imagine singing “Happy Birthday” twice.
- Rinse hands well under running water.
- Dry your hands using a paper towel or air dryer. If possible, use your paper towel to turn off the faucet.
- Always use soap and water if your hands are visibly dirty.
- If soap and clean water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub (at least 60% alcohol) to clean your hands. Alcohol-based hand rubs significantly reduce the number of germs on skin and are fast-acting.
Regular handwashing, and covering your mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, or coughing or sneezing into the crook of your elbow, are simple measures to slow the spread of germs, and therefore, the flu. And if you still get sick, look for Boiron’s cough, cold and flu products for children and adults – Oscillococcinum for flu-like symptoms, Chestal cough syrup, and Coldcalm for cold symptoms – that are sold at most drug stores and local health food stores. And save a little money by visiting www.oscillo.com or www.chestal.com for coupons.