12 Jan

There’s an easy way to help ensure that your family stays healthy through the fall and winter. It’s important in preventing food poisoning and helps prevent the flu, other infections and diseases associated with animals.

What’s this magic bullet? If you haven’t already guessed, it’s hand-washing.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say keeping hands clean is one of the most important things we can do to stop the spread of germs and stay healthy.

You should wash your hands:

  • Before, during and after preparing food
  • Before eating
  • Before and after caring for someone who is sick
  • Before and after treating a cut or wound
  • After using the toilet
  • After changing diapers or cleaning up a child who has used the toilet
  • After blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing
  • After touching an animal, animal feed, or animal waste
  • After touching garbage

According to the CDC, washing hands with soap and water is the best way to reduce the number of germs on them. Alcohol-based hand sanitizers that contain at least 60 percent alcohol are recommended when soap and water aren’t available. While hand sanitizers can quickly reduce the number of germs on hands in some situations, they do not eliminate all types of germs. And hand sanitizers are not effective when hands are visibly dirty.

When it comes to hand-washing, the old fashioned way is still best. Wet your hands with clean running water and apply soap. Rub your hands together to make a lather and scrub them well. Be sure to scrub the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails. Continue rubbing your hands for at least 20 seconds. If you need a timer, you can hum the “Happy Birthday” song or the “Alphabet” song from beginning to end twice. Rinse your hands well under running water. Dry your hands using a clean towel or allow them to air dry.

Encourage all of the members of your family to make regular hand-washing a habit. It’s an easy way to stop spreading germs and stay healthy.

More resources

1/12/16/reviewed Litha Sivanandan