And Global Handwashing Day could not have come at a better time, what with people here in the United States (and around the world) freaking out about Ebola and Enterovirus 68.
Though do you really need such an extreme excuse to wash your hands?
As the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and any healthcare professional can (and will) tell you, the number one way to avoid getting sick is to WASH YOUR HANDS
- Before, during, and after preparing food
- Before eating food
- Before and after caring for someone who is sick
- Before and after treating a cut or wound
- After using the toilet
- After changing diapers or cleaning up a child who has used the toilet
- After blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing
- After touching an animal, animal feed, or animal waste
- After touching garbage
Equally important is how you wash your hands, which, according to numerous studies, most of us don't do properly. So how do you wash your hands properly? Again, according to the CDC (and health professionals), to properly wash your hands you should:
- 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 -- lathering the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails.
- Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds -- the time it takes to sing the "Happy Birthday" song from beginning to end twice.
- Rinse your hands well under clean, running water.
- Dry your hands using a clean towel, paper towel, or hand dryer them UNTIL THEY ARE COMPLETELY DRY as germs love moisture.
Don't have access to running water, soap, and a towel? Use hand sanitizer. (I carry a bottle with me at all times -- and make the spouse and teenager carry a bottle with them, too.)
And no excuses! If astronauts can wash their hands in space...
you can do it here on Earth!
Happy Global Handwashing Day!