Proper hand washing is the most important step in preventing the spread of germs and illnesses. For busy people on the go, it’s easy to forget this. But not only does hand washing help prevent illness from spreading, but it also helps protect you from getting sick in the first place!
This article will discuss how often you should wash your hands and why it’s so important. We’ll give you tips for teaching you or a loved one about hand-washing, and then we’ll provide a short guide for proper hand washing at home or work. Let’s dive right in!
Wash Your Hands: Seniors and Caregivers Need to Stay Safe!
Cleaning your hands is the best way to protect yourself and others from getting sick. And it’s not as hard as you might think. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that we use soap and warm water to scrub our hands for at least 20 seconds before eating or preparing food, after touching animals or animal waste (such as kitty litter), after changing diapers or helping someone else do so, while caring for an ill person, before touching foods like raw meat or eggs (these can be contaminated with germs), after blowing your nose or spitting up mucus (which can transfer germs from your mouth to other parts of your body), after using public restrooms, when caring for someone who is throwing up or has diarrhea—and even before handling any dirty laundry!
CDC: Follow These Five Steps to Wash Up Safely
Wet Your Hands
To begin, wet your hands with warm water. This is important because it helps to break down the dirt on your hands and makes them easier to clean.
Use warm water, not hot or cold. If you can, use a small amount of soap and lather it between your palms. Don’t over-scrub or get too worked up about getting all the germs off at this point. Make sure your hands are wet enough to give yourself time to do the rest of the steps below.
If you don’t have access to soap or running water, the next best thing is using hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol (the FDA approves of any alcohol content over 60%). This method is much faster than washing with soap and water—but it doesn’t get rid of dirt as well as hand washing.
Lastly, if none of these options are available (for example, no soap or running water), then use an alcohol-based gel followed by vigorous rubbing until the most visible grime is gone (about 20 seconds).
Rub Your Hands Together
Rub in a circular motion for 20 seconds (or as long as it takes) on each hand: wash the backs of both hands, underneath each fingertip, between each finger where they connect with the palm, and then around into that arch area where there’s no visible skin—but not so hard that you’re scrubbing away layers of skin! This is also where some people recommend cleaning under nails to remove any dirt or bacteria hiding under there, too—just don’t cut yourself while doing so!
Scrub Your Hands With Soap
Scrubbing your hands with soap is the main focus of this step, but it’s important to note the type of soap you use. Hand-washing soap is not the same as dishwashing liquid or shower gel—specifically designed to remove grease and oil from surfaces, while hand-washing soaps are explicitly made for washing hands.
Soap should be used to clean hands, not just make them feel cleaner. If you’re using a typical liquid or gel-based hand wash and don’t feel like your hands are getting clean enough after one scrubbing session with some warm water, try using a bar of soap instead!
Rinse Your Hands Well
When you’re done washing your hands, dry them with a clean towel. This can be a paper towel or cloth towel; either is fine as long as it’s not soiled with anything else. If you don’t have access to either type of towel, use the other side of your hand that you haven’t washed yet. That way, both sides will be clean and ready for when you need them again later.
Once your hands are dry, use a nail brush (or toothbrush) to scrub underneath all of your nails—but especially the ones where dirt tends to get trapped: around the cuticle and on top of each nail bed (the white area next to your skin). This will help remove any stubborn grime that might remain after washing.
Next Comes Trimming And Filing
You’ll want to keep those nails short enough that they’re not sharp but long enough, so they don’t break too easily! Trimming takes care of this problem while also keeping bacteria away from open wounds where germs could potentially enter into circulation through tiny breaks in tissue walls caused by jagged edges protruding past healthy cells surrounding originally healthy ones.