Keeping hands clean is one of the most important steps we can take to avoid getting sick and spreading germs to others. 80% of common infections are spread by hands. For the general public, washing your hands at a minimum of five times a day has been shown to significantly decrease the frequency of colds, influenza (the “flu”) and other infections.
Mercy Medical Center’s Director of Infection Prevention, Kelly Mulholland, BSN, RN-BC, CCRN-K, CIC, shares the top five reasons why washing your hands is important.
- Tis the season for sharing, but
NOT germs (80% of infections are spread by hands.) The CDC notes that
proper handwashing has been found to reduce the number
of people who get sick with diarrhea by nearly a third,
and reduces colds and related diseases by 16-21%.
- Flu germs are spread not only from
droplets in the air but from touching items that may have the flu germs on
them; like door handles, ATM machines, shopping cart handles, cell phones,
- You can’t see the bacteria on your
hands; avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth since the germs on your
hands can spread into your body.
- During the holidays with much food
preparation and gathering together with larger groups of family and
friends, the spread of germs from your hands increases.
- Washing your hands can SAVE LIVES.
Ms. Mulholland also shared tips on how and when to properly wash your hands:
- Using alcohol-based hand rub (gel,
liquid or foam) apply a palm full and rub around your hand making sure to
cover all surfaces of your wrists, back of your hands, nails and thumbs
- Rub until the solution is dry
about 15 – 20 seconds.
- Soap and water is to be used if
your hands are visibly soiled and after using the bathroom.
- Use alcohol-based hand rub for all other instances; after coughing, sneezing or blowing your nose, after touching animals, before eating or preparing food.