The Hands-On Approach to Keeping Germs Off
Something so simple can often be overlooked or taken for granted. For example, thoroughly washing your hands can be the difference between sickness and health. In honor of Handwashing Awareness Week, we wanted to review proper techniques and protocol to ensure you remain healthy during prime flu season, a time when germs can run rampant.
You may be thinking that a recap isn’t necessary; especially as a healthcare professional, you know how to wash your hands! While that may be true, you can’t speak for the child who’s too young to fully understand how to really scrub his or her hands clean or the person who just suppressed a cough with their bare hands and proceeded to touch the same door handle as you. The moment you rub your eyes or pick up and take a bite of your sandwich, those germs are spread directly to you. A disconcerting thought, no doubt!
Did you know?
According to the CDC, people rub their eyes or touch their mouths an average of 25 times per hour. That’s 25 more reasons to ensure your hands are properly washed.
The dirtiest part of your hand is underneath the fingernail!
Regarding patient care, hand hygiene should be followed:
- Before touching a patient
- Before a cleaning/aseptic procedure
- After body fluid exposure risk
- After touching a patient
- After touching patient surroundings
Outside of patient care, you should wash your hands:
- Before, during, and after preparing a meal.
- After using the restroom.
- After changing a diaper.
- After coughing or sneezing.
- Before and after treating a cut or wound.
- After touching pet food and treats.
- After handling garbage.
Take Matters into Your Own Hands
Take your health into your own hands and take the extra minute to use proper protocol, whether you’re at work or home.
- Wet your hands.
- Turn off the water and lather both sides of your hands, as well as underneath your nails and in-between your fingers.
- Scrub for at least 20 seconds! If you don’t feel like counting, sing “Happy Birthday” twice through.
- Thoroughly rinse.
- Dry with a clean towel, hand dryer, or simply let your hands air dry.
- Now, you’re germ-free!
In a busy, on-the-go society, we come in contact with a lot of different germs. Don’t forget your pocket hand sanitizer when you are in-between sinks!
It’s easy to become lackadaisical when hand-washing is so prevalent in our daily routines, but it’s a task that definitely shouldn’t be short-changed. During Handwashing Awareness Week, and any other time, be sure to step in and educate your family, friends, and peers about the importance of this hygienic necessity. For an added reminder, print out proper how-to posters for your workplace bathroom to ensure everyone is on the same page.
What else can you do to spread knowledge about #handwashingawarenessweek? Please share any other tips or tricks you have to fend off germs on our Facebook page to ensure everyone has a healthy, happy holiday season!