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Hand Washing: The How and Why

Why do we wash our hands?  It may seem to be common knowledge to wash your hands.  Most children are taught at a young age to “wash up before dinner”.  However, hand washing is more significant than a habit.  Hand washing/sanitization is a requirement at any medical facility.  We wash our hands because it is proven scientifically to reduce the number of people who get sick.  Washing our hands reduces the spread of germs.  It can save lives!
How do germs get into our body?  Germs can come in contact with our body through touching human feces or contacting something that was contaminated by germs.  When these germs are not washed off, we can become sick or spread them to other people.  Germs enter our body through our eyes, nose and/or mouth.
When to wash your hands:  You should wash your hands before and after contacting someone who is sick.  You should also wash them before coming in contact with your eyes, nose and/or mouth.  Hand washing should occur after using the bathroom and including changing diapers or caring for another person who has used the bathroom.  It is also advised to wash your hands before and after preparing food.
How to properly wash your hands:
Step 1.  Turn on the faucet and get your hands wet.
Step 2. Apply soap and rub your hands together with the soap.
Step 3.  Rub your hands for at least 20 seconds (the CDC Recommends humming the happy birthday song twice).
Step 4.  Rinse your hands.
Step 5.  Dry your hands with a clean towel.  Turn off the faucet with the towel.
If soap and water are not available, it is recommended to use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.  These are not as effective as hand washing but can reduce the number of germs on your hands.  The information provided here was sourced from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  Here is the source and additional reading material on hand washing:

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