Handwashing is one of the best ways to protect yourself and others from COVID-19, the flu and other viruses and germs. National Handwashing Awareness Week, December 6-12, serves to remind us of this. We really can defend ourselves one handwash at a time.

Proper hand washing habits are essential for controlling infection and the spread of disease. Our hands carry all kinds of things we can’t see.

In the case of communicable diseases like Influenza and COVID-19 it’s the transient micro-organisms we’re concerned about. These organisms represent recent contamination and survive for limited periods of time. They are responsible for cross infection, readily passing from one person to another upon contact.

The good news is we can stop these organisms with a good hand wash.

What’s a good hand wash?

The CDC explains good hand washing as:

  • Lathering your hands by rubbing them together with the soap, making sure to lather the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails.
  • Scrubing your hands for at least 20 seconds, that’s about as long a singing “Happy Birthday” twice.

It shows how to wash hands properly in this handwashing video.

The World Health Organization illustrates how easy it is to miss parts of our hands while washing. Pretend the black paint in this video is soap.

During National Handwashing Awareness Week please remember, good hand hygiene is a simple yet very effective way to fight both COVID-19, the flu and other viruses and germs. It’s an easy way to make a difference one handwash at a time.