Germs after a long winter

As we enter April, we are still at risk of winter germs. Keep germs at bay by making homemade sanitizing wipes.

It’s still that time of the year when the weatherHands under running water keeps us from having our windows open, and we are inside more often. When we are closed in and in close proximity to each other, we may be sharing some of the bacteria and/or viruses that can make us sick. Hand hygiene is very important to protect ourselves from sharing those germs.

Hand hygiene has been an important practice for centuries. The American Cleaning Institute has information about the importance of hand hygiene and its impact on preventing illness. But, do we really know how to wash our hands correctly? Here are the steps:

  • Wet hands with warm, running water – prior to reaching for the soap. This applies to most products, however, some foaming hand washes should be applied to dry hands.
  • Move hands away from the water and make a lather by rubbing hands together.
  • Be sure to wash the front and back of hands, thumbs, between the fingers, around and under nails for 15 seconds or more (sing the A-B-C song as a good measure).
  • Rinse hands well under warm, clean running water. The entire hand washing process should last 20 seconds.
  • Dry hands thoroughly with a clean paper towel or an air dryer. You can use the paper towel to turn off the tap.

What does one do when soap and water aren’t around? Michigan State University Extension recommends using these techniques to clean hands when soap and running water aren’t available.

Hand sanitizers:

  • Use one or two squirts or pumps of the product.
  • Rub hands together briskly, including the front and back, between fingers and under and around nails until hands are dry.

Wipes (for cleaning only):

  • Wipe all areas of hands until they are visibly clean. Use one or more wipes and dispose in an appropriate trash container.
  • Let hands air dry.

Here is a recipe for homemade wipes:

1 roll thick paper towels, cut or sawed in half         

1 Tablespoon baby bath                                                     

2 cups water

1 Tablespoon baby oil                                                         

10 cup round bowl

Directions: In the bowl, combine the water, baby bath and baby oil. Add a half roll of paper towel and let set until soaked through. For travel wipes, put into a zip-lock

We also need to be aware of the critical times we should clean our hands.

  • Before and after meals and snacks.
  • Before and after preparing food, especially raw meat, poultry or seafood.
  • Before caring for young children.
  • After using the restroom.
  • After touching animals.
  • After sneezing or coughing into your hand.
  • After touching a public surface, including phones.
  • When hands are dirty.
  • When you or someone around you has a cold or is ill.

When we keep our hand hygiene in the front of our minds, remembering to clean them thoroughly and at the critical times, we will hopefully be able to enjoy spring when it finally comes, without colds and flu. If you would like more information on hand hygiene or food and water safety, please contact your local MSU Extension office.

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