This post is in conjunction with the release of my newest postcard about washing hands. I thought up the postcard awhile ago, but it seems appropriate that it is being released now during the beginning of flu season. Washing your hands is a conscientious thing to do in these germy times. While I do think some things take it too far (like anti-bacterial body wash and facial tissues), basic cleanliness and caution is always advisable. You never know if the person standing next to you might have some condition that makes them susceptible to illness, and while you may feel healthy, you may still have yucky germy-things that can make others sick.
Case-in-point: at my job, there is a woman who sits nearby that never covers her mouth when she coughs or sneezes. And she does it a lot! Imagine all the germs that may be flung into the air each time she sneezes! Or the women that leave the bathroom without washing their hands at work. EW. I know a person who is allergic to the hand soap in her work restroom, so she brings her own. Now that is considerate! So these non-handwashers have no excuse, wouldn’t you say?
But I think many of us believe that simply running our hands under some water (sans soap) will clean them up. This is not the case. My friend Mandy, a medical professional, explained to me that it is the friction that comes with hand-washing (plus the warm water and soap) that frees up the spores and whatnot attached to our skin, which makes our hands clean. This is the purpose behind the 15 second rule for hand washing. I had no idea. I thought that was a rule made up to get people to wash in general (ask for 15 seconds, and you’ll get the 5 seconds necessary–seemed to make sense). So I guess we all better do a stand-up job at hand washing. Remember, you can get yourself sick too by touching some communal item and then touching your face! Cleanliness helps everyone!
Below I have attached the CDC guidelines for proper hand washing. You can find the info here. For a cuter website with an awesome rubber ducky in its heading, check this link out: washinghands.net. This website is a great resource for all things handwashing related!
Steps to proper handwashing…
- Hands should be washed using soap and warm, running water
- Hands should be rubbed vigorously during washing for at least 20 seconds with special attention paid to the backs of the hands, wrists, between the fingers and under the fingernails
- Hands should be rinse well while leaving the water running
- With the water running, hands should be dried with a single-use towel
- Turn off the water using a paper towel, covering washed hands to prevent re-contamination.
Hands should be washed after the following activities:
- After touching bare human body parts other than clean hands and clean, exposed portions of arms
- After using the toilet
- After coughing, sneezing, using a handkerchief or disposable tissue, using tobacco, eating or drinking
- After handling soiled equipment or utensils
- After food preparation, as often as necessary to remove soil and contamination and to prevent cross-contamination when changing tasks
- After switching between working with raw food and working with ready-to-eat food
- After engaging in other activities that contaminate the hands.
Note: The VSP does not endorse the use of hand sanitizers in lieu of handwashing with soap and warm, running water. Hand sanitizers containing 60-90% ethyl alcohol or isopropanol in concentration with equivalent sanitizing strength, may be used as an adjunct to proper handwashing.
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