National Handwashing Awareness Week

Washing your hands is something you do every day and multiple times a day. It’s been emphasized more this year than ever! Why does something so simple receive recognition during the first week of December each year? Because it saves lives!

Handwashing and COVID-19

Proper handwashing has been key in slowing the spread of COVID-19. Earlier this year the CDC put out information on handwashing procedures for COVID-19. As always, you want to be sure to wash your hands for at least 20 seconds. This sounds quick, but often times feels longer than you anticipate when put into practice. A rule of thumb is to wash for the duration of singing “Happy Birthday.”

The Difference Handwashing Can Make

The CDC makes this a point of emphasis after results from a study in London in 2003 indicated that if everyone routinely washed their hands “a million deaths a year could be prevented.” Washing our hands is not only good for ourselves, but for those around us as it helps decrease the spread of germs. This is of particular importance around the holidays if you are attending any family gatherings.

While not as effective, hand sanitizer still can play a pivotal role in preventing the spread of germs. When 16 elementary schools placed hand sanitizer stations in their classrooms the absence rate among students decreased by an average of 19.8% the CDC reported. The CDC makes a point to mention that hand sanitizer will not eliminate all germs, but is still a preferable option in comparison to not cleaning your hands at all. If you have to choose between hand sanitizer and handwashing with soap and water – choose hand washing.

Improve your Handwashing Technique

Taking time to wash your hands is a great first step, but how you wash your hands is also very important. The CDC provides many brochures and pamphlets that diagram the correct handwashing procedure, but in order to set yourself up for success, it is best to watch their video.

Are you Washing your Hands Enough?

Frequent hand washing can be time-consuming but is a worthwhile precaution to help keep yourself safe. You already know the obvious times to wash your hands, like when making food, using the bathroom, and picking up garbage or bodily fluids. But not everyone is aware of the precautions you should take when touching your pets. The CDC recommends washing your hands after touching pets, as well as their food or treats.

Keep in mind that too much hand washing often causes the drying out of your hands, so plan to counteract this with moisturizing products, particularly during the winter months.


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