Handwashing 101: Avoid the flu and colds by correctly washing your hands

It only takes 20 seconds to get rid of cold and flu germs.

It might sounds simple and you might think you hear about handwashing too much, but keeping your hands clean is one of the best ways to stop the spread of cold and flu germs all year long, especially during flu season. Michigan State University Extension says that it is critical this time of year to keep your hands, as well as the hands of children in your care clean all day long to help combat the spread of illness.

We often don’t realize how many germs can be present on our hands. We need to remember that germs are everywhere and are shared easily. Hand washing is easy to do and can be done by people of all ages. Whether you are two-years-old, 42 or 72-years-old, you can be a great hand washer and get rid of illness causing germs on your hands.

Handwashing may seem like a simple task and it really is, but we need to be sure proper handwashing techniques are being implemented. To wash your hands correctly, follow the steps below:

  • Wet your hands with warm (don’t burn yourself), running water
  • Apply liquid soap
  • Scrub hands for 10-15 seconds, remembering to wash both front and back of hands, as well as in between fingers and under your finger nails
  • Rinse thoroughly with warm, running water
  • Dry hands with a single use paper towel or air dryer

The entire handwashing process should take at least 20 seconds from start to finish. When working with children on proper handwashing, encourage them to sing a song like the “ABC’s” or “Happy Birthday,” and have them wash until they are done singing to ensure they are washing long enough to kill germs.

Critical times during the day when you should be washing your hands include:

  • Before, during and after preparing food
  • Before eating food
  • After going to the bathroom
  • After blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing
  • After changing diapers or helping child use the bathroom
  • Before and after caring for someone who is sick

Thorough handwashing is so simple to do and can be very beneficial to everyone’s health. Be the best hand washer that you can be and help teach those in your care to do the same.

Related Events

Related Articles

Related Resources