Proper Hand Washing Techniques - Access Medical Center Urgent Care

Proper Handwashing Keeps Your Kids Healthy.

Nearly 80% of infectious diseases are transmitted by touch. The simple act of hand washing is the single most important means of preventing the spread of viral and bacterial infections.

After reviewing cases of increased back-to-school illnesses nationwide, we found that the number one culprit of these cases was homework. Just kidding, the key underlying factor in a majority of cases was spreadable, infectious diseases such as strep, colds and upper respiratory infection.

So what’s the easiest way to avoid the spread of these schoolyard diseases?  The answer is simple. Making sure your kids wash their hands properly can go a long way toward preventing the spread of school time illness.

You should wash your hands whenever you’re dealing with food, whether that means eating or preparing. Other Instances that require hand washing include:

  • After blowing your nose
  • After coughing or sneezing
  • Before and after treating a wound or cut
  • After you come in contact with a sick or injured person

Soap works by having two types of molecular components: hydrophilic (water-attracting) molecules and hydrophobic (water-repelling) molecules. When lather is created, the hydrophobic molecules attach to the dirt and some bacteria on the skin, and are rinsed away with water.

You’ve probably been told that it’s best to wash your hands in hot water because it helps to kill bacteria, but that is actually not the case. Adult skin can begin to scald at 120° Fahrenheit (49° C), so using warm water at your comfort level is best.

Once your hands are lathered up, you should always wash them for at least 20 seconds, or the amount of time it takes you to sing “Happy Birthday” twice.

Always rub your hands together vigorously, and be sure to spend some time cleaning your wrists, the backs of your hands, between your fingers and underneath your fingernails. To avoid recontamination when drying your hands, use a disposable hand towel.  Using the same hand towel repeatedly can transfer bacteria left in the water on hands from previous uses.

Most public restrooms have either disposable towels or hand driers.  Be sure to use a different, unexposed part of your body, such as an elbow, to turn on the drier.