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By: Amber White

So our least favorite time of the year has hit over the last few weeks here at 45 Urgent Care. When is that you ask? It’s cold and flu season and it is hitting our area hard. The number 1 thing you can do to prevent sickness is wash those hands! Hand-washing is an essential way to stop the spread of germs and prevent some of the common illnesses found in children and adults.

Proper hygiene begins at home.

Teach healthy hand-washing techniques to your kids and let them know they are doing their part to stop the spread of germs and diseases. Many people don’t give hand-washing the time and dedication it deserves. So let’s talk a little bit about what you need to know and what you should be teaching your kids at home.

How to properly wash your hands

  1. Wet your hands with clean, running water.
  2. Apply soap to hands.
  3. Lather the soap and scrub your hands for approximately 20 seconds. Teach your child to hum the “ABC’s” once or to hum the tune of “Happy Birthday” twice.
  4. Rinse your hands under clean, running water.
  5. Dry your hands with a clean towel or use an air-drying system, which is more hygienic.

If you don’t have access to clean, running water and soap, then an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol can reduce the amount of germs on your hands. Sanitizers don’t eliminate all types of germs.

When to wash hands

Common times to wash your hands are after using the restroom or when you notice your hands are visibly dirty. But there are lots of other times washing your hands is very important!

Wash your hands before:

  • Eating food.
  • Preparing food.
  • Caring for or visiting someone who is sick
  • Treating a cut or wound.
  • Holding a baby.
  • Changing contact lenses.

Wash your hands after:

  • Preparing food.
  • Caring for or visiting someone who is sick.
  • Treating a cut or wound.
  • Touching your face.
  • Blowing your nose, sneezing or coughing.
  • Changing a diaper or cleaning up a child or an adult who used the toilet.
  • You use the toilet yourself.
  • Touching an animal, its food or its waste.
  • Touching trash or chemicals.

Ensuring everyone washes their hands often and correctly can reduce the number of illnesses that spread within your family.