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Clean Hands, Healthier World

Author: greenwrite
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I can still hear my mother asking, "Did you wash your hands before dinner?" And to this day, the habit has stuck. Turns out, her ages-old advice is more important today than ever before. December is National Handwashing Awareness Month and with colds and flu lurking around every corner, it's the perfect time to remember the importance of washing your hands. Let's face it, kids don't always listen when you tell them to wash up, but it's by far the best way to prevent germs from spreading and to keep you and them from getting sick.
 
Colds and flu aren't the only thing that handwashing can help prevent. You can add conjunctivitis, pharyngitis, tonsillitis, bronchitis, bronchiolitis, pneumonia, Coxsackie virus, Streptococcus and more to the list!  In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control, "the most important thing you can do to keep from getting sick is to wash your hands."
 
If you're looking for a little extra help promoting handwashing in your home, check out the Henry the Hand Web site. Infection prevention specialist, Dr. Will Sawyer offers tips like these that can help just about everyone become a champion handwasher:

  • Wash your hands when they are dirty and before eating
  • Do not cough into your hands
  • Do not sneeze into your hands
  • Above all, do not put your fingers into your eyes, nose or mouth

Keep in mind that handwashing is important for everyone, but it's especially crucial to get children into the habit. Children have weaker immune systems than adults and can become sick quicker. But don't overlook your own handwashing habits. These rules apply to everyone:
 
Six Main Rules of Hand Washing:

  • Always wash your hands after using the bathroom, changing diapers, cleaning up after your pets or handling money.
  • Wash your hands when they're dirty.
  • Always wash your hands before eating.
  • Don't cough or sneeze into your hands.
  • Refrain from putting your fingers in your eyes, nose or mouth.
  • Avoid touching people and surfaces with unclean hands.

To combat a dirty hands epidemic in my house, I clipped a copy of these "rules" and posted them near every sink:
 
The right way to wash your hands

  • Wet hands with warm water (not hot) and use soap. Seventh Generation makes wonderfully gentle line of handwashing products, both bar soap and liquid hand wash that can turn handwashing into a pleasure.
  • Rub your hands together, making sure to scrub all areas.

  • Rub for a minimum of 15 seconds (or sing "Happy Birthday").

  • Rinse thoroughly, then dry hands on a clean towel.

  • Turn faucet off with the towel, not your hands, to stop from recontamination.

Photo: kokopinto

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Comments (2)

Laura Warmkessel
Fri, Jan. 04, 2013

Pets

Washing your hands is only as good as how good you do it and what you do afterwards! That means pets too! Pets can carry bacteria and not get the infections themselves but pass them onto you. Be aware! Also, use Seventh Generation products BECAUSE you have pets. I have 2 Labaradors who can reach the toilet and like to use it as a watering hole. So, I'm sure to use the Seventh Generation Toilet Bowl cleaner to the water is safe to drink! With so may pet owners these products are pefect to keep them healthy too!

Laura Warmkessel

auntjane7975
Fri, Dec. 14, 2012

Hand washing speech

While I was in Bible college we had a speech class and the professor wanted us to prepare a persuasive speech. Being a nurse I chose hand washing.

I delivered my speech. I showed the Bible students in my class how many at a given time did and did not wash after using the bathroom. My husband took a poll in the men's restroom. It has been years ago so I don't remember my grade. However, I wish my teacher could have heard the comments that I got after the class was over. A friend told us the following semester that he was visiting with his in-laws at Christmas break and he went into the bathroom just to comb his hair and he felt so compelled that he could not leave until he washed his hands. He also stated that my speech was very persuasive.

Another time 2 yrs later when we were at a church visiting with the pastor, he asked us if we knew his daughters who were in college the same yrs that we were. Neither I nor my husband remembered them. Which is understandable because we were married and they were single living in the dorms. The girls spoke up. Looking at me well, we remember you. You gave a speech in class on handwashing!

I guess that passes for a persuasive speech and gets the need for handwashing out.