National Handwashing Week!

Here’s Nurse Karen’s monthly column! Very timely… wash your hands this week!

What is the “single most important method for preventing infectious disease” according to the Centers for Disease Control? Infectious diseases include the common cold, the flu, and foodborne illnesses like E-coli. The answer is surprisingly simple…..handwashing! National Handwashing Awareness Week this year is December 6th-December 12th.

CDC recommendations include washing hands with soap and warm running water for 20 seconds. Wash all hand surfaces thoroughly including wrists, palms, the back of the hands, fingers, and under fingernails. Rinse well in warm water and pat skin dry with a clean or disposable towel. If clean water is not available, use an alcohol based hand sanitizer. Try singing the chorus to your favorite song while washing your hands. That should take at least 20 seconds!

Handwashing should be done before preparing or eating food, after going to the bathroom, after changing diapers, before and after caring for someone who is ill, after handling uncooked food-especially meat, poultry, and eggs, after blowing your nose-coughing-or sneezing, after handling an animal or animal waste, after handling garbage, before and after treating a cut or wound, after handling items contaminated by flood waters or sewage, and before you insert or remove contact lenses.

EVERY person CAN contribute to preventing the spread of the flu and other infectious diseases.

For more information, go to http://www.cdc.gov. There are many links there to fun activities that can be done with children as well.

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