Guess What You Can Do in 15 to 20 Seconds to Keep You Healthy?

By Barbara Ficarra, RN, BSN, MPA

Stop Watch

Have you ever been in a public bathroom and noticed the number of people that don’t wash their hands?

It doesn’t matter where you are.

You can be in a mall, an airport, a hospital, a restaurant, a school, a concert, work, a sporting event and the list can go on and on.

People are not washing their hands.

Hand Washing Isn’t Sexy

Okay so this topic isn’t so sexy.  Not like FOX NEWS Health’s Featured Story:  “Catwalk Confidence” that highlights a fitness class to teach women to “strut their stuff” in stilettos or FOX NEWS “FOXsexpert” who lets you know that size does matter.

It’s Not Sexy but It Does Matter

It matters because simple hand washing can stop the spread of germs, and can prevent infections including the Swine Flu.

In a recent story on CBS news, it’s reported that in a new survey it found that “87 percent of respondents wash their hands after using public bathrooms, but one percent of those only rinsed with water.”

It also reports that “people haven’t changed their hand washing habits in light of the swine flu outbreak.”

Whether the study is accurate or not who knows, the fact is that there are some people who are not washing their hands, and some people only rinse with water?  What’s up with that?

Are You Doing It Right?

If people are washing their hands, are they doing it right?  Are they lathering up long enough?  Do they sing “Happy Birthday” twice?  Turn off the faucet with a paper towel?

Take Notice Next Time You Use A Public Bathroom

You’ll be shocked by the number of people who do it wrong or worse, don’t do it at all.

Why Are People Not Doing It?

Why do people not wash their hands?  Why aren’t they changing their hand washing habits in light of the swine flu?  Hand washing is so simple.  If it can keep nasty germs away and prevent the swine flu and other viruses, why aren’t people doing it?  Why?

CDC Offers Great Info

It’s no secret that hand washing is the single most effective way to stop the spread of infection.  The Center for Disease Control (CDC) offers helpful information.

Here’s a simple step-by-step guide:

  1. Wet your hands with warm running water
  2. Apply soap.
  3. Rub hands together vigorously to make a soapy lather.
  4. Rub all surfaces including your wrists, between your fingers, back of your hands and under your fingernails and cuticles, and around any rings.
  5. Rub your hands for 15-20 seconds.
  6. No timer is needed; just imagine singing “Happy Birthday” x 2.
  7. Rinse your hands well.
  8. Dry your hands using a paper towel or air dryer.
  9. Use your paper towel to turn off the faucet if possible.
  10. Always use soap and water if your hands are visibly dirty.

Love the Alcohol Based Hand Sanitizers

If soap and water are not available use alcohol based hand sanitizers.  They work great, and they are easy to carry with you.

With the start of school fast approaching, moms and dads encourage your kids to wash their hands after using the bathroom and before eating.

What’s Your Experience?

Do you wash your hands?  Do you notice people washing their hands in public bathrooms or not?  We would like to hear from you.  Any suggestions to help spread the word?

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