hands being washedNational Hand Washing Week

December 4-10 is National Hand Washing Week.  National Hand Washing Week falls right in the middle of the holiday season, a time when family and friends come together to share a meal. The last gift you want to offer is the "gift" of food poisoning. To keep your loved ones safe and healthy, the first step in your meal preparation should be to wash your hands.

 Staphylococcus aureus, E-coli, and Salmonella are only a few of the life threatening bacteria that can get on your hands after touching uncooked meats, using the bathroom, or even touching your face and hair.  To prevent these and other contaminants from coming into contact with you and your loved ones, follow the steps listed below.

When to Wash

  • Before, during,  after preparing a meal                                                                 
  • Before and after eating
  • After using the toilet or changing a diaper
  • Before and after caring for a sick person
  • After coughing, sneezing, or wiping your nose
  • After touching an animal or its waste
  • After touching a trash can or taking out the garbage
  • Before and after you treat a cut or wound

Hand washing Techniques

Cleanliness isn't solely when to wash your hands, but how to wash your hands. By following these steps you will kill all of the potentially dangerous bacteria that could be living on your hands.

  • Wet your hands with warm running water.
  • Apply enough soap to create a good lather.
  • Scrub vigorously for 20-30 seconds. 20 -30 seconds is the same as singing the "happy birthday song" twice.
  •  Make sure you scrub in between your fingers, the back of your hands, around your wrist, and underneath your nails. The scrubbing is what kills the germs.
  • Rinse your hands under warm water
  • Dry hands using a clean paper towel or air dry.

Hand Sanitizer

Hand sanitizer is only appropriate if you do not have access to soap and clean running water.  If you have to use sanitizer, make sure that it is made of at least 60% alcohol.  Apply it all over the front and back of your hands, and allow your hands to dry before touching another surface.  Hand sanitizer is not recommended if your hands are visibly dirty.

Nail Hygiene

Nail hygiene does not mean getting a colorful holiday manicure. Nail hygiene means that you keep your nails trimmed and clean. Scrub your nails or use a nail brush when you wash your hands.

With just a few easy steps the healthiest gift you will offering your family is the gift of a healthy holiday meal. Happy Hand Washing!




US Department of Health and Human Services. Fighting Food Poisoning: One of The Most Important Things You Can Do.  http://www.foodsafety.gov/blog/handwashing.html Accessed November 16, 2015

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. When & How to Wash Your Hands  http://www.cdc.gov/handwashing/when-how-handwashing.html Accessed November 16,2015

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Show me the Science – When to Use Handsanitizer     http://www.cdc.gov/handwashing/show-me-the-science-hand-sanitizer.html Accessed November 16,2015

Centers  for Disease Control and Prevention.  Show me the Science-  How to Wash your Hands. http://www.cdc.gov/handwashing/show-me-the-science-handwashing.html    Accessed November 16, 2015

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.   Show me the Science-Why Wash Your Hands? http://www.cdc.gov/handwashing/why-handwashing.html