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National Hand Washing Awareness Week: Are You Washing Your Hands Correctly?

by Catheter Experts December 3 2013 16:31
December 1st – 7th is National Hand Washing Awareness Week. According to the Centers for Disease Control, "the most important thing you can do to keep from getting sick is to wash your hands."

Washing your hands regularly can prevent not only potential sicknesses like the common cold or flu, but also more serious diseases like hepatitis A or meningitis.

Washing your hands before handling medical supplies like intermittent catheters, ostomy supplies, and more, can also prevent contamination for infectious bacteria that may be on your hands. That's why it's recommended to always wash your hands before and after self-catheterization. Other instances would be when handling diapers, cleaning up after pets, touching money, and before eating.

Other helpful tips include using a tissue to cover your mouth when coughing or sneezing rather than your hand and refraining from touching your eyes, nose, and mouth to avoid spreading germs.hand washing awareness

Facts about washing hands

  • Because children have weaker immune systems than adults, they can become sick quicker, 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 hands after cleaning up after their pets.

Are you washing your hands correctly? According to a new study by Michigan State University, researchers found that only 5 percent of people washed their hands long enough to kill the germs that can cause infections after using the restroom. 33% didn't use soap and 10% didn't wash their hands at all. 

Here are helpful step-by-step tips for how to properly wash your hands:

1. Wet your hands with warm water (not hot) and use soap.
2. Rub your hands together, making sure to scrub all areas including palms, between fingers, etc. Lather for a minimum of 15 seconds;
3. Rinse thoroughly, then dry hands on a clean towel. Turn faucet off with the towel, rather than your hands.

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.