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To Your Health: Handwashing Awareness Week

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The COVID-19 pandemic made us all more acutely aware of the need to wash our hands. However, washing our hands doesn’t only protect us from COVID, but many other types of respiratory and gastro-intestinal infections that are transmitted through our “t-zone”: eyes, nose, and mouth.

Hello, I’m Dr. Brooke Hildebrand Clubbs at Southeast Missouri State University. It’s National Handwashing Awareness Week.

The Visiting Nurse Association warns that a quick rinse under warm water isn’t enough to get your hands clean. Here are five steps to follow every time you wash your hands.

Wet your hands with clean running water.

Lather the hands with soap and rub them together.

Scrub your hands for 20 seconds.

Rinse your hands with clean running water.

Dry your hands with a clean towel.

In addition, the American Medical Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics endorse the following four principles of hand awareness:

Wash your hands when they are dirty and before eating.

Do not cough into your hands.

Do not sneeze into your hands.

Do not put your fingers into your eyes, nose, or mouth.

The CDC states that to help stop the spread of germs you should:Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze.

Throw used tissues in the trash.

If you don’t have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your elbow, not your hands.

Remember to immediately wash your hands after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing.

Resources:

https://henrythehand.com/news-events/national-handwashing-awareness-week/

https://vnahg.org/national-handwashing-awareness-week-dec-6-12-why-its-more-important-than-ever-in-2020-and-2021/

https://www.cdc.gov/healthywater/hygiene/etiquette/coughing_sneezing.html

Dr. Brooke Hildebrand Clubbs is an assistant professor in the Department of Leadership, Middle & Secondary Education. She writes for special publications of The Southeast Missourian and is a certified Community Health Worker.
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