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COVID-19, handwashing, and you

Thanks to COVID-19 we have become more focused than ever when it comes to staying clean and healthy. However, are you sure you’re washing your hands properly? Studies show that 95% of people are washing their hands incorrectly and it is more important than ever to ensure proper handwashing practices are followed for the safety of yourself, your loved ones, and your community.

Don’t think it’s important? Check out some interesting facts below:

  • On average you encounter 300 surfaces every 30 minutes, exposing you to over 800,000 germs.
  • 80% of communicable diseases are transferred by touch.
  • Most bacteria are on the fingertips and under the fingernails.
  • The most common form of transmission is through the touching of the face, transferring bacteria from hands to the mouth, eyes, nose, and ears.
  • 1 of 3 gastrointestinal-related and 1 in 5 respiratory illnesses transferred through touch can be prevented through proper handwashing procedures.
  • Damp hands are 1000 times more likely to spread bacteria than dry hands.

How does soap work?

You know that soap helps to get rid of germs and keep your hands clean, but do you know how?

Soap is a combination of hydrophilic and hydrophobic properties that lift and trap bacteria. The trapped oils bind with running water and are washed away. The number of bacteria removed is dependent on the amount of mechanical action that takes place while lathering; the longer the process the more bacteria are trapped and washed away. 

When should you wash your hands?

It’s natural and unavoidable for our hands to harbor bacteria most of the time; however, there are actions you take daily that greatly increases the risk of transferring these bacteria to others.

It is recommended that you consider washing with soap and water:

  • Before, during, and after preparing food
  • Before eating food
  • Before and after looking after sick persons.
  • Before and after treating a wound
  • After blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing
  • After interacting with animals
  • After touching garbage

Proper Handwashing Methods

Now that we have gone over when to wash our hands, let’s take a look at the proper handwashing techniques. It may seem simple, but as previously mentioned, 95% of people are washing their hands improperly, and the areas you are targeting may not be the prime space germs congregate.

Follow these 5 steps to ensure germ-free hands every time:

  • Wet your hands with clean running water
  • Apply soap and lather your palms, back of the hands, between the fingers, and the fingernails.
  • Continue to scrub and lather these areas for 15-30 seconds, the longer the better!
  • Rinse your hands under warm running water until all soapy residue is removed.
  • Dry your hands with either a hand towel or blow dryer, though disposable paper towels are the most sanitary.

This process should take you no more than a minute and goes a long way towards preventing the spread of potentially dangerous bacteria and diseases. Let’s all do our part to help stamp out COVID with proper handwashing and start a habit that will benefit ourselves, our family, and our community long after COVID has passed.

Stay safe and stay healthy!

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