But what doesn’t take a lot of time and is an inexpensive way to promote good health (and help decrease your trips to the doctor’s office this winter)? The answer is hand washing.
During the day, germs accumulate on your hands from direct contact with others, contaminated surfaces, food, and animals. If you don’t wash your hands enough or properly, you can infect yourself with these germs by touching your eyes, nose or mouth. The germs can be spread to others by direct contact and by touching commonly used surfaces such as doorknobs. Good hand washing prevents the spread of communicable diseases such as the flu, MRSA, infectious diarrhea, and the common cold.
Since young children are constantly touching surfaces and putting their hands in the mouth, ears, eyes, nose and any other orifice they can find, teaching them proper hand washing techniques early can help avoid sickness, an in turn, those doctor visits. We call that a Win-Win at my house.
Children’s hands should be washed before eating, after using the bathroom, after playing outdoors or playing with pets and after blowing their nose.
- Proper hand washing instructions for washing with soap and water:
- Wet your hands with warm, running water and apply soap. Lather well.
- Rub your hands vigorously together for at least 15 to 20 seconds.
- Scrub all surfaces, including the backs of your hands, wrists and between fingers.
- Dry hands with a paper towel.
- Use a paper towel to turn off the faucet.
- Getting children to wash their hands for at least 15 to 20 seconds can sometimes be challenging. Children are able to remember how long to wash their hands for if they sing their ABCs, “Row, Row, Row Your Boat” or the “Happy Birthday” song.
Adopting good hand washing habits is one of the most effective ways to promote good health. Hand washing is cheap and doesn’t take up a lot of time, and can greatly impact the health of children and adults.