When large epidemics like Ebola threaten our borders, peoples’ ears perk up—it’s only natural of course. The truth is, according to NPR, our chances of getting Ebola in America are 1 in 13.3 million! Regardless, while you have a higher chance of dying from a bee sting (1 in 5.2 million), it’s hard not to worry…
With the heightened media attention on Ebola and the Flu, it’s easy to forget one of the simplest ways to avoid spreading germs – washing our hands. According to Google, the majority of germs are transferred through hand-to-hand contact—not through sneezing and coughing. With 5,000 germs on your hands at any given point, that doesn’t surprise me! Furthermore, although I’m tempted to test this statistic out, “a working adult touches 30 objects in one minute.”
So, for National Hand Washing Awareness Week, let’s chat and chew about the importance of keeping our hands clean.
WHY WE WASH OUR HANDS?
As the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says, “Hand washing is like a ‘do-it-yourself’ vaccine.” Not only does washing your hands reduce the spread of diarrheal (31%) and respiratory illnesses (21%), it also saves you time and money (more). Fewer visits to the doctor means more money in your pocket.
WHEN TO WASH OUR HANDS
Washing your hands is essential to limiting the spread of germs and infectious diseases; however, washing too much can have negative effects as well. See below for times you should absolutely be washing your hands.
- Before, during, and after food preparation
- Before meals/snacks
- Before and after you care for someone who is sick
- After using the restroom
- After touching an animal or animal waste; pet food or treats
- Before or after treating a cut
HOW TO WASH OUR HANDS
The CDC recommends scrubbing your hands for at least 20 seconds to help lift dirt, grease, and microbes from skin. Rather than count to 20, hum the “Happy Birthday” song twice from beginning to end! If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based (60%+) hand sanitizer instead.
To learn more about the importance of washing your hands, check out the CDC’s website. Just remember, you hold the power in your hands to keep yourself and the people around you healthy!