Handwashing: The First Line of Defense Against Germs

December 20, 2011 by gfmhm
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Think about all of the things that you touched today — from the telephone to the toilet. Maybe you blew your nose and played with your dog. Whatever you did, you came into contact with germs. So it’s easy for germs on your hand to end up in your mouth (maybe when you ate a handful of popcorn with teammates right after basketball practice).  December is national Handwashing Month and Granite Falls Municipal Hospital wants you to keep your hands clean this winter.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), if you don’t wash your hands frequently, you can pick up germs from other sources and then infect yourself. You’re at risk every time you touch your eyes, nose, or mouth. In fact, one of the most common ways people catch colds is by rubbing their nose or their eyes after the cold virus has gotten on their hands.  If people don’t wash their hands frequently (especially when they’re sick), they spread germs to other people or onto surfaces. And before you know it, everyone is coming down with something!

Hand hygiene practices are key prevention tools in healthcare settings, in daycare facilities, in schools and public institutions, and for the safety of our food.  Handwashing can prevent infection and illness from spreading from family member to family member and, sometimes, throughout a community. The basic rule is to wash hands before preparing food and after handling uncooked meat and poultry, before eating, after changing diapers, after coughing, sneezing, or blowing one’s nose into a tissue, after using the bathroom, and after touching animals or anything in the animal’s environment.

Wash Your Hands The Right Way:

●       Wet your hands with clean, warm running water and apply soap.

●       Rub hands together to make a lather and scrub all surfaces.

●       Continue rubbing hands for 15-20 seconds. Need a timer? Imagine singing “Happy Birthday” twice.

●       Rinse hands well under running water.

●       Dry your hands using a paper towel or air dryer. If possible, use your paper towel to turn off the faucet.

●       Always use soap and water if your hands are visibly dirty.

If soap and clean water are not accessible, however, use an alcohol-based product containing at least 62% alcohol to clean hands.

When Using Hand Sanitizer:

●       Apply product to the palm of one hand.

●       Rub hands together.

●       Rub the product over all surfaces of hands and fingers until hands are dry.

Handwashing is simple and keeping hands clean prevents illness at home, at school, and at work, be aware of your hands’ cleanliness today!


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