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Hand Washing Awareness Week

Posted on December 05 2018

All this week is Handwashing Awareness Week, where we will give a special shoutout to commemorate the occasion. You may be wondering why we are spotlighting a fairly common practice, but let's face it: personal hygiene begins and ends with our hands. 

We're taught as children to wash our hands before each meal, when we come home from school, or after a fun filled day wrestling around outside. Somewhere along the way though, through the busyness of our own lives, we forget this basic, but extremely important hygiene practice. 

Simply put, clean hands prevent sickness. Many germs live on our hands from the plethora of objects we touch every day. A key part of living a healthy life is to remember that washing your hands regularly and properly, is the most effective way of reducing the risk of infection from the bacteria present throughout your day.

So, without further ado, let's examine some handy tips and information about handwashing and National Handwashing Awareness Week, which always takes place each year during the first week of December.

National Handwashing Awareness Week Facts

1. Do it Right

Experts recommend washing your hands with soap and warm, clean water for at least 20 seconds - which is the equivalent of singing Happy Birthday twice! Be sure to get a good lather going and to clean the back of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails. Dry your hands using a clean towel. This is the most effective handwashing method.

2. Memorize The 5 Steps

Yes, there are five steps to washing your hands properly - wet, lather, scrub, rinse, and dry. They are pretty basic and easy to remember! The CDC calls handwashing a "do it yourself" vaccine.

3. Learn The 4 Principles of Hand Awareness

Endorsed by the American Medical Association and American Academy of Family Physicians, the 4 principles are: 1) Wash your hands when they are dirty and before eating; 2) Do not cough into your hands; 3) Do not sneeze into your hands; 4) Don't put your fingers in your eyes, nose or mouth.

4. Handwashing = Happiness

It's true! According to the CDC, handwashing can prevent 1 in 3 diarrhea related illnesses and 1 in 5 infections, including the flu!

5. Beware The Twin Killers For Kids

Approximately 1.4 million children under age 5, die from diarrheal diseases and pneumonia - the 2 most deadly afflictions for children worldwide.

6. The Dirty Secret of Public Restrooms

The CDC also reports that only 31% of men and 65% of women actually wash their hands after using a public restroom, therefore leaving an overabundance of nasty, bacterial germs all over! Scary, isn't it?

7. Hand Wash Your Way to Health

Using antibiotics creates antibiotic resistance. Proper handwashing prevents many sicknesses, which creates less need for people to take antibiotics. Therefore, less antibiotic resistance occurs.

8. Sneezes Are Mini Hurricanes

Did you know that a typical human sneeze exits the body at approximately 200 miles per hour, and emits around 40,000 droplets into the air? This surprising fact is why you always want to wash your hands after sneezing, coughing, etc.

Remember, healthy hands are happy hands, and happy hands make for happy and healthy homes. Think of just how many different objects we touch during the course of an average day. Now, imagine how many of those things were touched by others! A little gross right? Wash your hands to prevent the spread of those dangerous microbes!

Finally, let's be a reminder to everyone - especially doctors, chefs, and restaurant workers to take cleanliness and hygiene seriously!  

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