The holiday season is upon us as we get together with family and friends it is the also the season for colds, flu and other illnesses. Hand washing is like a “do-it-yourself” vaccine—it involves five simple and effective steps (Wet, Lather, Scrub, Rinse, Dry) you can take to reduce the spread of respiratory and diarrheal illness so you can stay healthy, and enjoy your holiday. Regu-lar hand washing, particularly before and after certain activities, is one of the best ways to remove germs, avoid getting sick, and prevent the spread of germs to others. It’s quick, it’s simple, and it can keep us all from getting sick. Hand washing is a win for everyone, except the germs.
Keeping hands clean through improved hand hygiene is one of the most important steps we can take to avoid getting sick and spreading germs to others. Many diseases and conditions are spread by not washing hands with soap and clean, running water. If clean, running water is not accessible, as is common in many parts of the world, use soap and available water. If soap and water are unavailable, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol to clean hands.
You can help yourself and others stay healthy by washing your hands often, especially during these key times when germs are likely to get on your hands and can easily spread to others:
- Before, during, and after preparing food
- Before eating food
- Before and after caring for someone who is sick
- Before and after treating a cut or wound
- After using the toilet
- After changing diapers or cleaning up a child who has used the toilet
- After blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing
- After touching an animal, animal feed, or animal waste
- After handling pet food or pet treats
- After touching garbage
National Hand Washing Awareness Week is December 4-10, however keep these tips in mind all year. Have a happy holiday.
Written by LaVella Head