Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Wash Your Hands!

This week, December 7th through December 13th is National Hand Washing Awareness week. Didn't know there was such a thing? Well, neither did I until recently. It is amazing to me that we have to have a week dedicated to teaching people to wash their grimy little paws, but if that is what it takes, then I am all for it.

There is an art to washing your hands. Some people think a little water trickled over their nubs will do the trick, but that just isn't so. Others think that applying strong anti-bacterial soap to their hands is essential to eliminating germs and this isn't true either. Multiple studies have found there is no difference between the amount of bacteria cleaned off hands from anti-bacterial soaps versus plain soaps. Yet, over 70% of all hand soaps are marketed as anti-bacterial. Avoid these because there is concern over-usage of anti-bacterial chemicals will build up a resistance to these types of products. Also, many people get extremely dry skin from anti-bacterial hand soap.

Here are the steps for washing hands correctly:

1. Have the following supplies available when you wash your hands: mild hand soap, paper towel, nail brush and water source. (Okay, this last one should be a no-brainer for us, but since some people don't wash their hands, I wanted to be a little more specific.)

2. Turn water on to a comfortable warm temperature.

3. Apply soap and rigorously rub hands under the water. It isn't the amount of soap you use that cleans your hands, but rather is the rigorous rubbing that will wash away the bacteria. Don't forget to do this step, it really works.

(Pay attention to between fingers, tops of hands, bottom of hands and WRISTS. Yep, wrists! You know that transitional part between your arm and your hand? They get dirty, too, and are a major source of germs for most people because few take time to actually wash them.)

4. Turn off water. (See, I am eco-friendly!) Take nail brush and focus on scrubbing your fingernails. Focus on the nail bed and underneath your nails. A lot of nastiness is left under fingernails and few consider cleaning them out. Don't believe me? Well, how many diapers have YOU changed today? How were those chips this afternoon? Ewwww....

5. Turn water back on to rinse and rigorously rub hands together again. Don't forget to rinse off those soapy wrists!

6. Grab paper towel and dry hands. Use paper towel to turn off water, too.

7. In a public restroom? Take another paper towel to open that germy door.

Just one word of caution to you anti-bacterial gel users: If you decide to carry anti-bacterial gel with you to use between diaper changes or after you shake someone's hand (yeah, I have seen this) remember to keep the product AWAY from your little ones. This gel contains enough alcohol in it to cause sickness if your child consumes it.

Easy, huh? Then why don't more people wash their hands?? What is the problem?


Helene said...

I had no idea there was an actual day to celebrate handwashing...who knew??!!

I read an article awhile ago in a parenting magazine on the proper way to wash hands and now I'm adament about it with the kids. I insist on warm water and they have to sing "happy birthday" outloud while scrubbing their litte hands. I tell them as soon as their done with the song, they're officially done washing their hands!! Since we started this handwashing technique, we've had way less colds around here!!!

twinmama said...

That is fantastic, Helene! We do the same thing with brushing teeth, we sing "ABCs" once through for the top teeth and "ABC's" once through for the bottom teeth.

Trina said...

Great stuff! I did an internship at a hospital and they said to do all of your steps plus make sure you was for 2 minutes straight.

And the ABC's great trick I may have to try it on my boys!

Kim said...

My first baby was in the NICU, and I was SHOCKED at how many families walked in WITHOUT washing their hands at the scrub station.

At that time (they've since completely redesigned the NICU) one side was the critical side—where my daughter was clinging to life—and the other side was for the more stable premies, but the entrance was the same.

So all these unwashed idiots were touching the same doors and items at the nurses' desk, etc. that we parents of critically ill babies were touching. It was really frustrating.

Sabrae said...

a day to celebrate hand washing?? why didnt they teach us that in nursing school??? lol

Aly @ Lip Zip said...

That's funny what Helene said in the first comment. My state actually put out a commercial to people singing a full verse of "Old MacDonald" while washing their hands. We must be a bunch of nasty varmints if the state has to get involved.

I have turned into such a germaphobe since having my son that my hands are terribly eaten up these days because I wash them so much. I have to use Johnson's Baby Soap and tons of lotion to keep them from getting all dried and cracked.

Oh, and I'm so glad I'm not the only one that uses a paper towel to open the door after washing my hands at a public restroom. I then try the old bank shot with the wadded up paper towel to try and score 2 points!

Work at Home Mom said...

I learned the hard way a couple of weeks ago to always wash my hands after shopping. I picked up a nasty bug at the mall, which had me laid out for a good week. Thanks for the tips!

Thanks also for your kind post at my blog. I appreciate the support.

Jennifer said...

Fortunately, my lil girl LOVES to wash her hands! She thinks it's so fun! Now, to just get her to go in the potty so she has a REASON to wash her hands...

kendy said...

Just now I have gone through this blog which is very interesting and I would like to try it once.
I think It could be the best way of taking care about our nails.