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Take handwashing very seriouslyPosted Friday, December 9, 2011, at 10:19 AM
Cold and flu season is among us, so it's only fitting that December is National Handwashing Awareness Month.
Keeping our hands clean is one of the most important steps in stopping the spread of germs because so many diseases and conditions are spread by people not washing their hands with soap and clean running water.
If soap and water are unavailable, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommends using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol to clean hands.
The CDC's website offers several tips for handwashing ...
When to wash your hands:
*Before, during, and after preparing food.
*Before eating food.
*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 or animal waste.
*After touching garbage.
What is the right way to wash your hands:
*Wet your hands with clean, running water (warm or cold) 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. Need a timer? Hum the "Happy Birthday" song from beginning to end twice.
*Rinse your hands well under running water.
*Dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry them.
What if I don't have soap and clean running water:
*If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Alcohol-based hand sanitizers can quickly reduce the number of germs on hands in some situations, but sanitizers do not eliminate all types of germs. Hand sanitizers are not effective when hands are visibly dirty.
How do you use hand sanitizers?
*Apply the product to the palm of one hand.
*Rub your hands together.
*Rub the product over all surfaces of your hands and fingers until your hands are dry.
Take a few moments during Handwashing Awareness Month to ensure you're washing your hands properly. If you have children, review handwashing tips with them. Challenge your child to create a 20 second handwashing song, or even better, help create one with them. This will make handwashing a fun experience for them.
Remember, washing your hands properly is one of the most important steps to stop the spread of germs. Take your part in washing germs down the drain seriously.
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