During the past week when both my hubby and daughter got sick, I realized how important being healthy is in facing the challenge called motherhood. One of the best ways to keep yourself from getting sick and spreading illnesses is to keep your hands clean. By hand-washing, you can get rid of the germs that you pick up from other people, the surfaces you touch or the animals with which you come in contact.
When To Wash
- Before eating
- Before, during, and after handling or preparing food
- Before dressing a wound, giving medicine, or inserting contact lenses
- Before holding, rocking or dressing an infant
- Before nursing or feeding
- Before and after changing a diaper
- After contact with blood or body fluids (like vomits, nasal secretions, or saliva)
- After you use the bathroom
- After handling animals or their toys, leashes or waste
- After touching something that could be contaminated (such as a trash can, cleaning cloth, drain, or soil)
- More often when someone in your home is sick
- Whenever your hands look dirty
How to Wash
- Wet your hands and apply liquid, bar, or powdered soap.
- Rub hands together vigorously to make a lather, and scrub all faces, including under and around the nails.
- Continue for 20 seconds. It takes that long for the soap and scrubbing action to dislodge and remove stubborn germs. Need a timer? Sing “Happy Birthday” all the way through – twice!
- Rinse hands well under running water.
- Dry your hands using a paper towel or air dryer.
Additional Handwashing Tips
- Consider using hand lotion to prevent chaped hands. If using lotions, use liquid or tubes that can be “squirted” so that your hands don’t have direct contact with the lotion spout. Direct contact with the spout could contaminate the lotion inside the container.
- When assisting a child with handwashing, hold the baby (or if it’s a toddler, have him or her stand on a safety step_ so that his/her hands can hang freely under the running water. Assist the cild with the How to Wash steps above, and then wash your own hands.
When Soap and Water Aren’t Available
Clean hands are especially important before touching your baby – and you can still keep your hands clean even if water isn’t available. Hand sanitizers are designed to kill germs on hands that are not visibly dirty, without the need for water or towels.
Hand Sanitizing Gel:
- Apply gel per label directions.
- Rub hands together briskly, including the front and back, between fingers, around and under nails until hands are dry.
- Wipe all areas of hands until they are visibly clean.
- Use one or more wipes, and dispose of them in an appropriate trash container.
- Let hands air dry.