April Green/Publisher

Hand washing is a simple method to fight the spread of germs. Despite what many think, hand sanitizer is not the answer, good old water, and soap is best. It is important to know when and how to wash your hands, and how to properly use hand sanitizer. It is also important to get your kids in the routine of washing their hands properly.

When to wash your hands

Wash your hands prior to

  • Cooking or eating food
  • Caring for a sick person
  • Caring for wounds
  • Removing or inserting contact lenses

Wash your hand after

  • Preparing food
  • Using the toilet, changing a diaper or cleaning up a child who has used the toilet
  • Touching an animal, animal feed or animal waste
  • Blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing
  • Treating wounds or caring for a sick person
  • Handling garbage
  • Handling pet food or pet treats

How to wash your hands

There is a science to washing your hands properly. It is best to use anti-bacterial soap and warm water and follow the proper steps for washing hands, which are

  • Wet your hands with running water
  • Apply soap and foam well
  • Rub your hands vigorously for 20 seconds. Make sure to scour all surfaces, including the backs of your hands, wrists, between your fingers and under your fingernails
  • Rinse well
  • Dry your hands with a clean towel or air-dry them

Using alcohol-based hand sanitizer

There is no water needed when using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Hand sanitizer should only be used when clean water and soap are not available. Sanitizer should not be used as a replacement for washing hands with soap and water. When using hand sanitizers use products with 60% alcohol and follow the steps below

  • Apply the sanitizer to the palm of one hand. Check the label to find out the proper amount
  • Rub your hands together
  • Rub the sanitizer over all the surfaces of your hands and fingers until your hands are dry

Keeping Kids hand Clean

It is important for kids to practice good handwashing habits. Set a good example for the kids by washing your hands with soap and water often. Give children reminders throughout the day to wash their hands, and make sure that younger children are facilitated to wash their hands. For example, assist younger children showing them how to properly wash hands and have a step stool if needed to help child reach the sink to wash hands properly. Make washing hands fun for the children and have them sing the “happy birthday song” two times, or sing the alphabet song to pass the 20-second scrub time away. Be sure to supervise children when using alcohol-based hand sanitizer. If ingested, alcohol-based hand sanitizer can cause alcohol poisoning.

April Green

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