Washing your hands is one of the best ways to protect yourself, your family, and others from getting sick.
Clean hands can stop germs from spreading from one person to another and throughout an entire community—from your home and workplace to childcare facilities and hospitals. Handwashing is a good personal hygiene habit to acquire at a young age. Excessive handwashing, on the other hand, could be a symptom of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD).
When should you wash your hands?
Acquire the good habit of keeping your hands clean by washing them often, especially during times when germs are prevalent like when you have a cold/flu. In our home, we encourage our kids to wash their hands immediately after returning from public areas like the playground, school or taking public transport. This is to prevent any latent germs that we might have come into contact with that could easily spread to other members of the family.
We also enforce the regimen of handwashing during these sessions:
- Before, during, and after preparing food
- Before eating food
- 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 cleaning up a child who has used the toilet
- After blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing
- After touching an animal, animal feed, or animal waste
- After touching garbage
If soap and water are not available when you are out and about, do carry an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. These are readily available at Watsons, Guardian Pharmacy or any convenient shops. And remember to scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds.
What is the right way to wash your hands?
When you are washing your hands, do follow the steps below 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. Be sure to 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.
Kids might need supervision and regular reminders to cultivate the good habit of handwashing. [Mom’s Tip: print out a poster such as the one below with clear and simple instructions that your child and helper can follow.]