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Hand Washing Awareness Week

During the height of the pandemic, hand hygiene was a common practice in the home, healthcare facilities, and just about any public space. Many people even began making their own hand sanitizer when product availability was scarce. Now that we have adjusted to a new normal, we must still be as diligent as before. The first week of December is National Hand Washing Awareness Week. It is a great reminder to promote and re-establish consistent hand washing.

The CDC refers to hand washing as a "do it yourself vaccine." Hand washing prevents illnesses and the spread of infections. According to the CDC, approximately 20 percent of respiratory infections can be prevented with adequate hand washing. It is recommended to wash your hands often, especially during key times like before and after preparing or eating food, after using the bathroom, after coughing, sneezing or blowing your nose, and after caring for someone who is sick. If soap and water is not available, it is recommended to use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.

The facts about hand washing are pretty alarming. Research has found that only 5% of people wash their hands for the recommended 20 seconds. Furthermore, about 33% of people do not use soap when washing their hands. Here are the best practices for washing your hands:

1. Wet your hands with warm water and use soap

2. Lather your hands by rubbing them together with soap. Remember to get the backs of your hands, underneath nails, and in between fingers.

3. Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds. A helpful tip would be to hum the Happy Birthday Song from beginning to end twice.

4. Rinse your hands well with clean water.

5. Dry your hands with a clean towel or with an air dryer.


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