Believe it or not, hand washing is like nature’s vaccine against certain contagious illnesses. Washing your hands is so important that Accredited Care celebrates National Hand Washing Awareness along with the CDC every December.
How Hand Washing Works Like a Vaccine
Accredited in home care staff is trained and regularly reminded of how important it is to wash their hands. Clean hands help reduce the spread of germs and bacteria that can cause a number of health issues.
- Colds, Flu & other Viruses – Colds, the flu, stomach problems, and respiratory illnesses can all be caused by the transfer of germs from your hands. By washing your hands properly you can reduce your risk of getting the common cold or flu by 20%.
- Combine the Flu Vaccine with Hand Washing – As mentioned above, simply washing your hands properly can help reduce your risk of getting the flu. Accredited Home Care reminds you about getting your flu shot and the importance of washing your hands, in an effort to decrease your risk for getting sick. The combination of both vaccinating and washing your hands gives germs the one-two punch!
- The T-Zone – The only way you can get things like flu, cold, respiratory or stomach illnesses is by the germs entering through your mucus membranes. The area that provides access for germs to enter your body is referred to as the T-Zone (as this YouTube Video explains).
The 4 Principles of Hand Washing
Dr. Will Sawyer created “Henry the Hand” to help educate people of all ages about the importance of clean hands. He teaches the 4 principles of hand-washing to help you keep your hands as germ free as possible.
- Never sneeze into your hand
- Keep your fingers/hands away from your face (the T-zone)
- Always wash your hands before eating or preparing food
- Don’t cough into your hands
Tips for Preventing the Spread of Germs with Your Hands
These hints and tips will help you prevent the spreading of germs that can cause health issues. In some cases the health problems that can arise from germs spread by unwashed hands can even be life threatening.
- Sneezing Right – Germs from a sneeze can travel quite far. When you sneeze it’s best to sneeze directly into the inside front of your coat or shirt. If you can’t easily follow this technique then sneeze into your elbow.
- Food & Clean Hands – Always wash your hands before eating. When preparing food wash your hand often and avoid cross contamination with proper food prep techniques.
- Coughing – The same basic techniques used for sneezing should be used when you cough.
- Wash Regularly – It’s important to wash your hands often; especially if you are sick. However, even if you’re not feeling sick, you will want to wash your hands often to avoid spreading germs from others. Every surface you touch has the possibility of holding germs that can easily enter your body via the t-zone area.
- Using Hand Sanitizer – Hand sanitizer is NOT a replacement for hand washing. However when soap and water is not an option, the CDC suggests using a hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
Your hands are an important part of your body so it’s important that you treat them right. Learn how to wash them properly.
- Use a Nail Brush – Many people don’t realize the importance of using a nail brush every time you wash your hands. Your fingernails are a great hiding place for germs.
- Anti-Bacterial Soap or Regular – According to this Mayo Clinic News Network article, experts claim that there is no need to use an anti-bacterial soap in place of regular soap. There is even some question about anti-bacterial soap being less effective in the long run.
- 2 Minute Washing – You should wash your hands for 20 seconds. Sing “Happy Birthday” twice.
- Proper Technique – It’s not rocket science but there is a science behind the right way to wash your hands. Use the proper technique to be sure that you’re washing your hands without re-contamination.
Our in home caregiving services can help you keep germs at a minimum with light housekeeping to help keep surfaces clean. Combine a clean home, getting vaccinated and the proper hand washing to reduce your risk of getting sick in any season.
Photo 1 by Michele Hubacek
Photo 2 by ~Pawsitive~Candie_N