Here’s something basic that we’ve been doing all our lives, but some of us might still not be “doing it right.” Basic hand washing is the best way to prevent the spread of most illnesses. That’s right, from the common cold to influenza to the most current COVID-19, all germs cower at the sight of soap suds and running water. Here’s the CDC-recommended handwashing technique to strike fear into the hearts of all those tricky germs.
- Wet your hands with clean, running water (warm or cold), turn off the tap, and apply soap.
- Lather your hands by rubbing them together with the soap. Lather the backs 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.
But What About all that Hand Sanitizer?
If you don’t have access to soap and water, you can also use “an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol… Rub the gel over all the surfaces of your hands and fingers until your hands are dry. This should take around 20 seconds.” (https://www.cdc.gov/handwashing/when-how-handwashing.html)
The CDC does clarify, though, that hand washing, when possible, is still considered more effective than using hand sanitizer.
20 seconds… aren’t there better options than Happy Birthday?
So, maybe your favorite song isn’t Happy Birthday… I mean, it’s a happy and generally upbeat song, but the simple tune may not be everyone’s thing. There are plenty of other songs with about 20 seconds spent on the chorus. I can’t list all the options, but my favorite choice is the chorus to “Stayin’ Alive” by the Bee Gees.
During these uncertain times, when people are more concerned about health than ever before, it seems like an appropriate anthem. And if you need one more reason – the tempo is also said to be the right beat for performing CPR. The Bee Gees probably didn’t realize at the time they wrote the song that it would end up providing such a wonderful and critical public service!
Hand Washing Break
All this talk about washing hands makes me want to wash my hands. Join me in a 20 second hand-washing break?
Aaaaaaaaand we’re back.
If you remember only one thing from this post, may it be this, a quote from my 6-year old daughter about hand-washing. “I only used my left hand, so I don’t need to wash my right.”
If only that were the way things work. But please wash them both, no matter which one you use the most. 🙂
Stick Together… Separately…?
Aside from basic hygiene – there is more that we can do to keep each other healthy. If you’re able to do so safely, please watch out for your neighbors. Not everyone has an easy time of getting supplies. You might offer to pick up prescriptions or grocery items for those near you who may be in need of assistance.
If you’re in a position to help others in the greater community during the coming days and weeks, there are plenty of opportunities to pitch in. For example, food pantries are experiencing difficulty in keeping up with supplies and volunteers. Here’s one news story with details, if you’re interested and live in the metro area. If we stick together (while still being cautious), we can all get through this as a community.
All of HealthStar sends you and your family wishes for good health during this trying time. Together, we can stay healthy and keep our community strong!