Health Tips

National Handwashing Awareness Week (12/1 – 12/7)

national handwashing awareness week

Washing your hands is something you do every day and multiple times a day (well, we sure hope so). Why does something so simple receive recognition during the first week of December each year? Because it saves lives!

The difference handwashing can make

The CDC makes this a point of emphasis after results from a study in London 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. Particularly during the holiday seasons as families get together to share meals handwashing can be a team effort to prevent the spread of germs.

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.

Improve your handwashing technique

Choosing 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.

Take additional precautions as you see fit. Overuse of hand sanitizer can decrease its effectiveness, but too much hand washing often causes little more damage than simply drying out your hands (something you can counteract with moisturizing products).