December is a great month for Alabama Handwashing Week and remembering the importance of hand washing. Many people become ill this time of year and washing your hands is one of the easiest steps to take to prevent illness and spreading infections to others!
Why is Handwashing Important?
Keeping your hands clean is one of the most effective things you can do for your health. Washing your hands is the best way to prevent the spread of pathogens. Pathogens are organisms that can produce disease. There are three types of pathogens:
Contact pathogens - spread by touch
Airborne pathogens - spread by coughing or sneezing
Bloodborne pathogens - spread by needle sticks or contaminated body fluids entering the eyes, mouth or open area of skin.
Oftentimes, people are unaware that they are spreading pathogens:
- People frequently touch their eyes, nose and mouth without realizing it, but this is an entry point for germs.
- Germs from unwashed hands can get into foods and drinks and multiply, making people sick.
- Touching surfaces like handrails, tabletops and shopping carts allow germs to spread.
Tips for Effective Handwashing
A quick rinse under warm water isn’t enough to get your hands clean. Here are four steps to follow EVERY time you wash your hands.
- Wet your hands with clean running water.
- Lather the hands with soap and rub them together for 20 seconds.
- Rinse your hands with clean running water.
- Dry your hands with a clean towel.
Therapy Achievements includes handwashing as an important part of Universal Precautions - the standard set of guidelines we follow to prevent the transmission of pathogens.