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Handwashing Awareness Week: Essential Tips and Facts for Hand Hygiene

Handwashing Awareness Week - Essential Tips and Facts for Hand Hygiene

It’s National Handwashing Awareness Week! You might think a themed awareness week like that is unnecessary. After all, doesn’t everyone know how to wash their hands? The truth is that hand hygiene is lacking, and many people may not know how to correctly wash their hands.

This is important because handwashing is one of the best ways to reduce your chances of illnesses like common colds or the flu. According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control), one of the most important things you can do to keep from getting sick or spreading germs is to wash your hands.

Plus, if you use catheters, you need to have very clean hands when handling your catheter supplies and practice proper hand hygiene.

Get the scoop on the best way to wash your hands and the importance of hand hygiene when using a catheter!

Hand Hygiene Facts for Handwashing Awareness Week

Recent studies reveal a concerning trend: nearly half of Americans are not washing their hands correctly. Yikes! Shockingly, only 66% of Americans wash their hands after using the restroom.

This approach to hand hygiene is not just a matter of personal health; it’s really a public health issue. Inadequate handwashing can lead to the spread of illness, bacteria, and germs. This is particularly concerning for groups who are at risk, such as people with autoimmune disorders.

In fact, the CDC indicates that if everyone routinely washed their hands, around 1 million deaths a year could be prevented. That’s a huge impact!

You can take action and do your part in keeping clean and reducing the transmission of germs by learning how to properly wash your hands.

Here are a few more handwashing facts and statistics:

  • Because children have weaker immune systems than adults, they can become sick quickly, making hand washing important in daycare and school.
  • 1 in 4 adults don’t wash their hands after changing diapers.
  • 1 out of 3 E. coli outbreaks are caused by poor hand washing or lack thereof by those preparing the food.
  • Germs that cause disease live in vegetables, meat, and more, making it vital to wash hands before and after preparing food.
  • Only 1 out of 3 people wash hands after coughing or sneezing.
  • Less than 1 out of 5 people wash hands after handling money.
  • Less than half of Americans wash their hands after cleaning up after their pets.

Step-by-Step Tips and Visual Guide for Correct Handwashing

According to a new study by Michigan State University, researchers found that only 5 percent of people washed their hands for the recommended 20 seconds. Plus, around 33% of people don’t use soap when handwashing. Those facts are pretty astonishing. Makes you rethink the custom of shaking people’s hands when you meet them, doesn’t it?

But how are you supposed to wash your hands?

Let’s go over the step-by-step process of proper handwashing technique.

1. First, wet your hands with warm water (not too hot), and be sure to use soap.

2. Rub your hands together, making sure to scrub all areas.

3. Be sure to get between your fingers and under your fingernails. Don’t forget your thumbs!

4. Lather for a minimum of 20 seconds. Try counting that out a few times to get the hang of how long that should be for you at the sink.

5. Next, rise with clean water.

6. Grab a clean towel or a paper towel to dry your hands. Avoid using public hand blow dryers, which can blast germs everywhere.

7. Lastly, if you’re at a restroom where the faucet doesn’t automatically turn off, use a towel to turn off the faucet.

And then you’re all done!

By washing your hands frequently and correctly, you can ensure you’re erasing as many germs as possible. This may also help reduce the risk of urinary tract infections by contamination from your hands.

Handwashing Visual Step by Step Guide

The Critical Importance of Hand Hygiene for Catheter Users

For people who use intermittent catheters, maintaining proper hand hygiene is not just a recommendation; it’s really a necessity. Proper handwashing is crucial in preventing catheter-associated urinary tract infections (CAUTIs), which are among the most common infections in catheter users.

The good news is there are no-touch catheter options that help maintain the sterility of your catheter and work to reduce the risk of infections.

At 180 Medical, we carry a wide range of high-quality catheters from all major brands on the market. It’s our goal to help you find the catheter that best fits your needs and lifestyle. Reach out to us today to request free no-touch catheter samples.

Request Free Samples

When Should I Wash My Hands?

So, now you know how important proper hand hygiene is. But how often should you wash your hands and when?

Here are just a few times when washing your hands is the right call to make:

  • Before and after eating or preparing food (especially when handling raw meat or eggs)
  • Before handling sterile medical supplies, such as catheters or ostomy bags
  • After using the restroom
  • After coughing or sneezing or blowing your nose
  • If you’ve visited someone who is ill or in the hospital
  • After handling pets or animals
  • After changing a child’s diapers
  • When you’re back home from shopping in the grocery store (handling grocery carts and money)

These are just a few suggestions, but it’s a good rule of thumb is to wash your hands anytime you’ve been out and about in public.

Hand Hygiene Is Important For Everyone

By washing your hands frequently and correctly, you can feel more confident that you’re reducing germs and staying as safe as possible. Plus, you can feel good about doing your part to reduce the transmission of germs to folks who are at high risk of contracting illnesses more easily. And if you use catheters, it’s a crucial step in your catheterization routine every time.

Hand hygiene is important for everyone, so take action this week and spread awareness about the proper way to wash your hands!


Please note: This information is not medical advice. It is a summary to provide a general consumer understanding of healthcare topics. Do not use this information in place of a visit, call, or consultation with a physician.

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About the Author
Handwashing Awareness Week: Essential Tips and Facts for Hand Hygiene
Jessica is the Sr. Marketing Specialist at 180 Medical, and she has been with the company for over 14 years now. She loves getting to be creative in her role and hearing from customers about the positive impact we've made on their lives.

Outside of work, you can find her hanging out with her husband and their dogs or browsing garden centers (where she will almost certainly buy another houseplant she doesn't really need).