National Hand Washing Awareness Week: December 4 - 10
According to the Centers for Disease Control, "the most important thing you can do to keep from getting sick is to wash you hands." Judicious hand washing can prevent not only common diseases like colds, but also more serious diseases like hepatitis A, meningitis, and infectious diarrhea.
Why hand washing is important
- Children have weaker immune systems than adults and can become sick quicker.
- 1 in 3 E.coli outbreaks is caused by poor hand washing by food preparers.
- Germs that cause disease live in meat, vegetables, and more.
- Germs are spread from unclean hands to food, usually when the food handler doesn’t wash after going to the bathroom. Germs are then passed on to those who eat the food.
- Germs spread from uncooked foods like hamburger to the hands, then from the hands to other foods like salads. The germs can remain in the salads and eventually affect those who eat the food.
- Putting cooked meat back into its original container re-contaminates the cooked food. - Cutting vegetables on the same board used to cut meat contaminates the vegetables.
6 Main Rules of Hand Washing
- Always wash your hands after using the bathroom, changing diapers, cleaning up after your pets, or handling money.
- Wash your hands when they’re dirty.
- Always wash you hands before eating.
- Don’t cough or sneeze into your hands.
- Refrain from putting your fingers in your eyes, nose, or mouth.
- Avoid touching people and surfaces with unclean hands.
Correct way of washing hands
- Wet hands with warm water (not hot) and use soap.
- Rub you hands together, making sure to scrub all areas.
- Rub for a minimum of 15 seconds or sing “Happy Birthday.”
- Rince thoroughly, then dry hands on a clean towel.
- Turn faucet off with the towel, not hands, to keep away from recontamination.
- 2/3 of adults in the US wash hands after using the bathroom.
- 1 in 4 adults don’t wash hands after changing diapers.
- Less than 1/2 of Americans wash hands after cleaning up after pets.
- 1 in 3 wash hands after sneezing/coughing.
- Less than 1 in 5 wash hands after touching money.
- 1 in 3 E.coli occurrences is caused from not washing hands before handling food.
By frequently washing your hands, you wash away germs that you have picked up from other people, or from contaminated surfaces, or from animals and animal waste. The simple act of consistently performing this basic task properly will make a big difference in your own household as well as in work, school and public settings.