Yes, Covid might seem like a distant memory and perhaps you’re all sanitised out! But there are still pretty good reasons to wash your hands and keep it as an ingrained habit.
The escalator, your steering wheel, trolleys, the office handles, your laptop and the worst offender, of all…your phone. All of these are infested with germs and did you know that germs can stay alive on our hands for up to 3 hours? There are between 2 and 10 million bacteria lurking between fingertips and elbows—plus, they will all double after using the toilet.
The simple act of handwashing reduces the risk of getting a stomach bug by up to 47% . Plus, frequent handwashing with soap and water can reduce the number of illnesses and infections in children under five by at least 50%, according to research by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the US. We all know how many viruses kids pick up at school and creche and handwashing will help to reduce the amount.
If you’re trying to get the kids into the habit, then explain to them in an age appropriate way why it’s important and make it as fun as you can. A reward chart is always a good ideas. You can also buy a special, soft washcloth just for them. Getting a step stool for them will also make it easier. Most important of all is to be the best role model you can be for handwashing as our kids will follow what we do and mimic our behaviour.
Are you washing your hands correctly? Here are some tips on when and how to wash.
Wash your hands:
- After coughing or sneezing
- Before and eating a meal or snack
- After playing with a pet or being outside
- After coming home from the shops, school, office, etc.
- After using the bathroom or after a nappy change
- As your toddler continues to grow, teach proper coughing and sneezing etiquette, as well, such as sneezing into an elbow, covering a cough with a tissue and always washing their hands afterwards.
Frequent handwashing with soap and water can reduce the number of illnesses and infections in children under five by at least 50%,
How to wash your hands:
- 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. Lather the backs of your hands, between your fingers and under your nails.
- Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds. Need a timer? Hum the “Happy Birthday” song from beginning to end twice.
- Rinse your hands well under clean, running water.
- Dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry them.
- If soap and water aren’t available, then use a gentle hand sanitiser. Note that sanitisers may not get rid of all types of germs .