Why it’s important to wash your hands.
Simply put: handwashing can help keep everyone you love healthier. Because people often touch their eyes, nose, and mouth–usually without realizing—if your hands aren’t kept clean, the 840,000 germs you come into contact with on a daily basis can easily enter your body. Leaving your hands unwashed for long periods of time also means that the germs can transfer onto your food and drinks as you eat or while you cook, or even onto surfaces like doorknobs, children’s toys, and handrails. Many bacteria and viruses spread through a lack of proper hand hygiene. Handwashing removes any germs you pick up, preventing the spread of diseases.
Your child probably already knows the basics: wash your hands before dinner and after going to the bathroom. But are those the only times where handwashing is necessary? No. Your little one needs to also wash their hands after blowing their nose or coughing/sneezing into their hands or on a tissue. You should also wash your hands after touching pets or other animals. It’s also good hand hygiene practice to clean your hands after being outside, even if they’re not visibly soiled.
How to wash your hands.
To scrub germs away from your hands every time, follow these steps:
- Wet your hands thoroughly with clean running water and then turn off the tap.
- Apply soap and rub your hands together to lather for at least 20 seconds. Not sure how long that is? It’s roughly the length of two “Happy Birthday” songs.
- Make sure you also scrub the backs of your hands, between your fingers, on your wrist, and under your nails, where most germs like to hide.
- Rinse thoroughly under running water and dry your hands with a clean cloth or paper towel.
When to use hand sanitizer and when not to.
Hand sanitizer can be a quick way to remove germs from your hands when there’s simply no sink or soap in sight, but this should never replace handwashing. Alcohol-based handwashing alternatives don’t typically kill all types of germs, such as norovirus, which causes stomach problems, or diarrhea-causing parasites like Clostridium difficile. Hand sanitizers also don’t remove harmful chemicals, like pesticides or heavy metals. Try to find water and soap as you’ll have a better chance of removing more germs and bacteria from your hands.
How to get your kids into the handwashing habit.
Sometimes cultivating a handwashing culture in your kids can be as simple as explaining how clean hands help prevent us from getting sick and making those around us sick also. No one likes to get sick, and your child is no different. Encourage your child to wash their hands even when germs aren’t so obvious like after coming home from the park. It may take some time for handwashing to become a habit, and for them to do it properly, but it will be well worth it to keep your child healthy.
Jeffrey C. Jaynes prioritizes a safe and healthy environment.
At Jeffrey C. Jaynes, the health of our littlest patients is always a top priority, and we maintain strict cleaning and hygiene standards. We want to ensure that you feel comfortable and confident in bringing your family to our office, knowing we will always put your health and well-being first. If you’re due to schedule your child for a checkup, feel free to contact us or request an appointment via our website.