In light of the current concerns with the coronavirus pandemic that is quickly spreading worldwide, Homewatch CareGivers Northshore is reminding our caregivers, as well as our clients, to return to the basics of making sure to adequately wash their hands frequently. Handwashing is one of the best ways to protect yourself and protect others from getting sick. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has highlighted the best practices with handwashing.
It is important to wash your hands often throughout the day, especially during times when you are likely to get and/or spread germs:
- Before, during and after preparing food
- Before eating
- Before and after caring for someone who is sick, especially someone who is vomiting or has diarrhea
- Before and after treating a cut or wound
- After using the bathroom
- After changing diapers or cleaning up someone who just used the bathroom
- After coughing, sneezing or blowing your nose
- After any interacting with an animal or animal waste
- After touching garbage
The CDC has launched a new campaign called “Life is Better with Clean Hands” that encouraged adults to make handwashing a part of their every day lives. They provide a number of print-ready materials that can be downloaded and shared to raise awareness about handwashing.
The CDC recommends 5 simple steps to properly wash your hands:
- WET your hands with clean, running water – warm or cold. Placing hands in a basin of standing water can re-contaminate your hands. Turn off the tap and apply soap.
- LATHER your hands by rubbing them together. Using soap is much more effective than using water alone. People also tend to scrub their hands more thoroughly when using soap. Lathering and scrubbing creates friction, which lifts dirt, grease, and microbes from skin.
- SCRUB your hands for at least 20 seconds. To time yourself, you can sing the “Happy Birthday” song from beginning to end twice.
- RINSE your hands well under clean, running water. Rinsing soap away helps to remove the dirt, grease and microbes that were lifted off the skin while scrubbing. Rinsing also helps to minimize skin irritation.
- DRY your hands using a clean towel or air dry them. Germs can be transferred more easily to and from wet hands.
IF you are not able to use soap and water to wash your hands, use hand sanitizer. Sanitizers can quickly reduce the number of germs. However, they do not get rid of all types of germs.