National Handwashing Awareness Week, December 3-9
Keeping hands clean is one of the most important steps we can take to avoid getting sick and spreading germs to others. Richland Public Health reminds everyone of this important health measure by recognizing National Handwashing Awareness Week, December 3-9.
Many diseases and conditions are spread by not washing hands with soap and clean, running water. Believe it or not, scientists estimate that people are not washing their hands often or well enough and may transmit up to 80% of all infections by their hands. From doorknobs to animals to food, harmful germs can live on almost everything. Frequent handwashing may be your single most important act to help stop the spread of infection and stay healthy. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends cleaning hands in a specific way to avoid getting sick and spreading germs* to others.
The guidance for effective handwashing and use of hand sanitizer recommended by the CDC was developed based on data from a number of studies.
Washing your hands should involve these five (5) scientifically proven steps:
- Wet your hands with clean, running water (warm or cold), turn off the tap, and apply soap.
- Lather your hands by rubbing them together with the soap. Be sure to lather the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails.
- Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds. Need a timer? Hum the "Happy Birthday" song from beginning to end twice.
- Rinse your hands well under clean, running water.
- Dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry them.
December cold weather is a great time to remember handwashing. Chilly weather does not cause the flu or colds. But dry, cold conditions improve spread of the flu during the winter. Anyone that has a cold or flu-like symptoms can pass them along when they touch any surface (doorknobs, phones, counters, etc.) with hands they may have coughed into. Handwashing can protect you from spreading those germs.
No one wants to be sick during the holidays. In addition to handwashing, you can protect yourself and others by getting your annual flu shot from Richland Public Health. Call 419-774-4700 to make an appointment.
*Germs, or pathogens, are types of microbes that can cause disease.