Importance of Handwashing During Cold and Flu Season

What a Microbe is? 

A Microbe is a bacteria or a virus.  We are in contact with millions of microbes everyday and most are harmless to us, BUT, some cause illness such as, colds, flus and other illnesses, such as vomitting and diarrhea.  We spread microbes by touching things with our hands and then touching our bodies, like our eyes, mouths, noses, or cuts.

Does soap kill microbes? 

No, but the mechanical scrubbing your hands with soap loosens up the dirt and microbes on your hands, picks them up and binds them so the water washes them away.

Steps to handwashing:

  • Wet you hands under warm water
  • Apply soap and rub and lather well
  • Wash palms, each finger and thumb and in between, back of hands, around, on and under finger nails, and wrists
  • Rinse with warm water
  • Dry with clean paper towel and turn off taps with same paper towel.

How long (seconds) should someone wash their hands?  15-20 seconds

When should you wash your hands?

  • Wash you hands before:      
    • Prepare or eat food
    • Treat a cut or wound
    • Tend to someone’s who is sick
    • Put in or take out contact lenses
    • Do any kind activity that involves putting your fingers in or near your mouth, eyes etc.
  • Wash you hands after you:
    • Go to the bathroom
    • Handle uncooked foods, especially raw meat
    • Eat
    • Blow you nose, cough or sneeze
    • Handle garbage
    • Tend to someone who’s is sick
    • Play with or touch a pet, especially reptiles and exotic animals
    • Change a diaper

Handsanitizers can be used if soap and water are not available