Wash Your Hands-Environmental Health & Safety - Carnegie Mellon University

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Wash Your Hands

washing handsHandwashing is something most of our parents have been harassing us about since the toddler years. Well, while they might have been mistaken about your childhood haircut, in this case, mom and dad know best.  In the beginnings of what promises to be a lovely flu season, hand-washing is one of the easiest, most effective, and most overlooked ways to prevent the spread of disease. Disposable hand wipes or gel sanitizers also work pretty well. 

So if you’re going to follow this parental advice (which you absolutely should), let’s get it right! 

First off, the when:  Minimally, you should wash your hands before, during, and after food preparation; before eating; 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 helping a child who has used the toilet; after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing; after touching an animal, animal food, or animal waste; and after touching garbage.

Now, the how: Here’s my little “how-to-scrub” spiel.
1.    Wet your hands with clean, running water, and soap up.
2.    Scrub, scrub, scrub for at least 20 seconds (use your “1-Mississippi, 2-Mississippi” counting for this one—another little technique courtesy of my mother).  Get the backs of your hands, in between your fingers, and under your nails.
3.    Rinse well and dry your hands off with a clean towel or allow them to air dry.         

Now that you’ve got the basics, let’s commemorate the occasion!!  October 15th is Global Hand-washing Day.  Celebrate year-round by making good hand-hygiene a habit.

By: Angela Reid, angelar@andrew.cmu.edu, 412-268-7502