There are many times to wash your hands, but some of the most important include:
• Before, during and after preparing food.
• Before eating.
• After using the toilet.
• After blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing.
• While caring for someone who is sick.
• After touching an animal or handling pet food
There are five easy steps to follow when washing your hands to make sure they are properly cleaned. The steps are wet, lather, scrub, rinse and dry.
After you wet and lather your hands, you should scrub the soap for at least 20 seconds before rinsing and drying. If you get tired of counting to 20 in your head, hum the “Happy Birthday” song from beginning to end two times. Be sure to wash thoroughly, even around the nail area.
Using soap is more effective than running your hands under water because the friction created by rubbing your hands together with soap and water help eliminate microbes from your skin.
Many diseases are spread from not keeping hands clean. Although vaccinations are the best way to prevent diseases such as flu and Hepatitis A, washing your hands can help prevent these infections as well.
Hepatitis A is a communicable disease that can be transmitted from person to person via the oral-fecal route. Individuals get Hep A in unsanitary conditions, including from others who have not washed their hands properly after going to the bathroom. With the ongoing outbreak of Hepatitis A in West Virginia, it is extremely important to take precautionary measures to help prevent contraction of the disease.
If clean water or soap is not available, there are other options that can assist with preventing germs, such as hand sanitizer. Here at Monongalia County Health Department, visitors have the option to sanitize their hands when they enter the door. That’s a great way to help keep the public safe.
If using hand sanitizer, make sure it is an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol.
When hands are visibly dirty or greasy, it is important to wash your hands because hand sanitizers are not as powerful and effective.
Using hand sanitizer can help decrease the number of germs but it will not eliminate harmful chemicals completely. This is why it is extremely important to properly wash your hands whenever you can to have a greater chance of preventing illness.
This flu season, don’t miss out on all the fun fall activities! Washing your hands is a quick and easy step that you can primarily do anywhere. Take simple steps to properly wash your hands to prevent illness not only for yourself but also for those around you