Hand Washing Week!

— Written By Lethia Lee and last updated by Cindy Nance

Did you know that National Hand Washing Week runs from December 6th through the 12th? Now is the perfect time to prepare. Here are just a few tips about proper hygiene.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) insists “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.” They recommend washing your hands often with soap and clean running water. If clean and/or running water isn’t available, soap and whatever water you can find is a good alternative. If neither of those options are available, then you can turn to an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with a least 60% alcohol.

Let’s assume that you have access to clean and running water. Here’s a guide to proper hand washing techniques:

  1. First, get your hands wet.
  2. Grab some soap and rub your hands together until a rich lather forms.
  3. Scrub your hands for a least 20 seconds. Don’t miss the spots under your nails, on the backs of your hands, and between your fingers.
  4. Rinse your hands well with running water.
  5. Dry your hands with a clean towel, or let your hands air dry.

Now that we have talked about how to wash your hands, let’s discuss when you should do it. Here is a list from the (CDC):

  • Before, during and after preparing food.
  • Before and after treating a cut or wound.
  • Before and after taking care of someone who is sick.
  • Before you eat.
  • After feeding your pet or giving it treats.
  • After touching an animal or animal waste.
  • After using the bathroom.
  • After helping someone else use the bathroom (or changing diapers).
  • After blowing your nose.
  • After coughing or sneezing.
  • After touching garbage.

A note from the (CDC) about hand sanitizers: washing hands with soap and water is the best way to reduce the number of germs on your hands in most situations. If soap and water are not available, use alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Alcohol-based hand sanitizer can quickly reduce the number of germs on your hands in some situations, but sanitizers do not eliminate all types of germs.

For more information on proper hand washing and many more topics on food safety or nutrition contact Lethia Lee, EFNEP Program Assistant with the Sampson County Cooperative Extension Office at 910-592-7161.