It’s something you likely do several times a day. Everyone does – or at least everyone should! It takes mere seconds, is inexpensive and doing so can have a significant impact on our health – and the health of others.
The answer? Washing our hands.
It seems so simple. We’ve been told to wash our hands regularly since childhood. And with good reason! Germs are everywhere and we pick them up throughout the course of our day when we shake hands, turn a door knob, type on a keyboard or push a grocery cart. Germs that spread colds, flu and diarrhea-related illness can easily find their way from our hands into our bodies when we rub our eyes or eat food prepared by someone with hands that weren’t washed. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), hand washing is the single most important thing we can do reduce the spread of infectious disease. Studies have shown that 1 in 5 respiratory infections such as a cold or the flu can be prevented by proper and thorough hand washing.
Proper Hand Washing Techniques
While the frequency of hand washing is important, so is the quality of the wash job. To effectively wash our hands, the CDC recommends the following steps:
1. Wet your hands with clean running water. It can be warm or cold.
2. Apply soap. It can be bar or liquid.
3. Lather hands by rubbing them together.
4. Scrub all surfaces of your hands including palms, fingers, between the fingers, backs of hands and under the nails.
5. Keep scrubbing for at least 20 seconds. If you need a timer, hum the “Happy Birthday” song twice.
6. Rinse hands under clean running water.
7. Dry hands using a clean towel or air-dry them.
Hand washing is such a simple thing, but this easy, cost-effective act can really have a powerful impact on our health and the health of others. Washing your hands well (and regularly) won’t necessarily guarantee that you’ll completely avoid getting sick this winter – but it does increase the odds that you and those around you will stay healthier.
For more information, please contact Thibodaux Regional Medical Center at www.thibodaux.com or 985.447.5500.