National Handwashing Awareness Week Dec. 5-11

Washing your hands and washing them well is a great way to help stop the spread of disease, especially the flu and of course, COVID-19.

Washing your hands and washing them well is a great way to help stop the spread of disease, especially the flu and of course, COVID-19. In addition to a flu shot and COVID immunization, it is recommended good hand washing, along with eating a well-balanced diet and getting enough rest, will help stop the spread of the flu. Flu shots and the COVID vaccines are available locally and it’s not too late for anyone to get vaccinated. 
The following facts from the Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) explain the best way of washing your hands and the benefits.
• Use soap and warm or hot running water.
• Take at least 15 to 20 seconds to do the washing.
• Wash all surfaces using a vigorous rubbing (friction) including: wrists, palms, back of hands, between fingers and under the fingernails.
• Rinse under running water.
• Away from home, dry hands using disposable paper towels or the hot air blower if possible.
• At home, provide a separate towel for each member of the household, and wash towels regularly in hot water and detergent.
• Properly clean frequently used items. The flu virus can survive up to 48 hours on surfaces like a telephone, computer keyboard, doorknob, kitchen countertop, coffee pot handle and children’s toys.
The IDPH says that hand washing is important because the skin constantly makes oil that stays on its surface. The germs on the skin get trapped in the oil. The skin does not have to look dirty to be loaded with tiny germs that can cause illness. Washing hands with soap and warm running water is one of the best things anyone can do to stay healthy.
If you use antibacterial soap, keep in mind that antibacterial soap helps kill some germs, but not all. Some germs can’t be killed, no matter how strong the soap is or how long you leave it on. It is most important to spend enough time and care to wash the germs away than any product.  
Washing your hands is especially important before you eat, prepare food, treat a break or cut in the skin, care for an ill or injured person or animal, insert or remove contact lenses.  
Wash hands immediately after you use the restroom, handle uncooked foods (especially raw meat, poultry or fish), change a diaper, blow your nose, sneeze or cough, touch an animal – including animals in petting zoos, handle garbage, care for an ill/injured person or animal, whenever you’ve been touching common surfaces. Routine hand washing can help reduce your chances of getting an infection.
Waterless hand sanitizer products are also a good choice for washing hands, as long as the hands are not visibly soiled. Just one squirt rubbed on the hands quickly evaporates, while killing disease-spreading germs. For more information on good hand washing, please contact Veterans Memorial Hospital at 568-3411.


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