2014-01-02 / Community

Just For The "Well" Of It

Hand washing – it’s simple, effective and free! Keeping our hands clean is one of the most important things we can do to avoid getting sick and spreading germs to others. Many diseases and conditions are spread from one person to another by poor hand hygiene, yet many people do a real quickie job or just don’t wash their hands at all.

The best way to wash your hands is to rub your hands together quickly with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds. Making sure you have a good lather of soap, wash under your nails, between your fingers, the backs of hands and your wrists. To judge the amount of time, sing or hum the “Happy Birthday” song from beginning to end twice (little kids will love this). Rinse your hands well under warm running water and dry with a clean towel, paper towels, or a warm air dryer.

When away from home, use the paper towel to turn off the faucets and open the bathroom door, if possible, to avoid recontamination. If soap and warm, running water are not available, you can use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol. Hand sanitizers can quickly reduce the number of germs on your hands but do not eliminate all types of germs and are not as effective when hands are visibly dirty. To use hand sanitizers, apply the product to the palm of one hand and rub hands together quickly until dry, making sure to cover backs of hands and between fingers.

Cathy Kaltz Cathy Kaltz So, when are your hands dirty? Pretty much all the time, but you should always wash your hands before, during and after preparing food, before eating, before and after caring for a sick person, before and after treating cuts, or wounds, after using the bathroom or helping a child in the bathroom, after changing diapers, after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing, after touching animals, pet food, pet toys, or waste, after cleaning up blood, vomit, urine, or stool, and after touching garbage.

If you have to work with children, please teach them how to properly wash their hands. Kids are precious little “cootie factories” and their hands should be washed often – when they get home from school, day care or a friend’s house, after playing outdoors, after using the bathroom, after they have made contact with another child who may be sick, after playing with pets, and before they eat or drink. It’s never too late or too early to teach your kids to protect themselves from germs by proper hand washing.

This may seem like a lot of information that everybody already knows, but it really does help keep you healthy. Now go wash your hands!

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You can reach Cathy Kaltz, Certified Worksite Wellness specialist, at (906) 286-0985.

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