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Clean Hands 101

Most healthcare experts agree, the single most important preventative measure to protect ourselves from the COVID-19 virus and other germs is to wash your hands. You can’t always control what you touch or who else has touched it.  An invisible enemy is lurking in plain sight, so look after your own hands.

Image of a father helping his son wash his hands and a reminder to make handwashing a family activity. According to WebMD, a 2013 study of 3,700 people washing their hands found only 5% followed basic hand washing rules. One in four only wet their hands without using soap. One in ten were observed not washing their hands at all. The most common failing, 95%, was washing their hands for less than 15 seconds.

In addition, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) said that sharing common hand washing practices throughout the community will have quantitative positive health effects.  Hand washing reduces the number of people who get diarrhea by 23%-40% and by 58% in people with compromised immune systems. Respiratory illnesses, like a common cold, are reduced by 16%-21%. Hand washing reduces absenteeism of school children from stomach illness by 29%-57%, not to mention the reduction in chemicals needed to clean up those messes.

An easy guide to washing your hands:

  • Wet your hands with clean running water (warm or cold), turn off the tap, and apply soap, preferably liquid not foam.
  • Lather your hands by rubbing them together with the soap. Lather the back of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails.
  • Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds. Need a timer? Hum the ” Happy Birthday” song from beginning to end twice.
  • Rinse your hands well under clean, running water.
  • Dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry them.

If soap and water isn’t available, the on-the-go way to clean your hands is to use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Dr. Jagdish Khubchandani, Professor of Health Science at Ball State University, recommends this recipe for homemade hand sanitizer :

  • 2 parts isopropyl alcohol or ethanol (91–99%  alcohol)
  • 1 part aloe vera gel
  • a few drops of clove, eucalyptus, peppermint, or other essential oil

Share, teach, and share again… especially with your family. Together, we will lead the world in beating this pandemic!

 

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