Hand Washing for Disease Prevention

Author: Shannon Miller Lifestyle

Disease is everywhere this time of year, and that’s why it’s National Hand Washing Awareness Week from
Henry the Hand Foundation.

Snotty noses. Coughs. Sneezes. Do you ever feel like you need a portable bubble to get through your day in a field of germs?

Luckily, the easiest prevention for diseases such as cold and flu is simply through hand washing.

This simple video from the Virginia Department of Health reminds us of the simple “Happy Birthday” technique for washing hands. Plus it’s really cute!

Here are some tips about hand washing for disease prevention from the Centers for Disease Control:

1. When washing hands (20 seconds), scrub vigorously. Don’t forget areas between fingers and under accessible finger nails. Use comfortably warm water.
2.Rinse hands thoroughly to scrub off all of the excess soap.
3. Use a paper towel to dry hands, and then use the paper towel to turn off the water.
4. Use the paper towel or a foot lever (now in many public places) to open the bathroom door. Then, throw the paper towel away.

What kind of soap is best when hand washing for disease prevention?

According to the Minnesota Department of Health, non-antibacterial liquid soap is best. Antibacterial soap leads to resistance in the body, much like taking too many antibiotics makes the body resistant to them. A plain soap is best.

  • A pump-able liquid soap is recommended because germs can stay on bar soap, where liquid soap is separated from the users. A good example of a pump-able liquid soap would be Ms. Meyer’s Clean Day hand soap.

What about hand sanitizers?

Are hand sanitizers effective at killing germs?

Hand sanitizers are not substitutes for soap because:
1. They do not remove dirt.
2. Most people do not use enough to get the germs off of the hands.
3. It can lead to antibacterial resistance, as well.

Hand sanitizers can be used in a pinch, such as when a sink and soap are not available.

  • Use of 3-5 mL of a hand sanitizer at a time is recommended.
  • To be most effective, hand sanitizer needs to be used over the entire surface of the hand, just as soap would be used.

SML TIP:  For more information about hand washing for disease prevention, Please visit Henry the Hand Foundation.

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