National Hand Washing Awareness Week

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website, “The most important thing you can do to keep from getting sick is to wash your hands.” The first full week of December (4-10) is National Hand Washing Awareness Week, a campaign focusing on hand washing at the beginning of flu season. Use this hand washing guide to keep your hands clean and prevent the spread of infection.

Why hand washing is important

  • One in three E. coli outbreaks is caused by poor hand washing by food preparers.
  • Germs are spread from unclean hands to food, and then to those who eat the food.
  • Germs can be spread from uncooked foods, like raw meat, to the hands, then from hands to other foods, like salad.
  • About 1/3 of American adults don’t wash their hands after using the restroom.
  • Less than half of Americans wash their hands after cleaning up after pets.
  • Only one in three people wash their hands after sneezing or coughing.
  • The biggest problems with hand washing are not using soap and not scrubbing long enough.
  • Hand washing can help prevent the spread of illnesses and bacteria.

The main principles of hand washing

  • Wash your hands when they are dirty.
  • Wash your hands before eating.
  • Do not cough into your hands.
  • Do not sneeze into your hands.
  • Do not put your fingers into your eyes, nose, or mouth before washing your hands.

When to wash your hands

  • Before, during, and after preparing food
  • Before eating
  • Before and after treating a wound
  • After using the toilet
  • After changing diapers
  • After blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing
  • After touching garbage
  • After touching an animal
  • After handling money
  • After touching many items in a public place (shopping, gym, playground, etc.)
  • After caring for someone who is sick

How to wash your hands

  • Wet your hands with warm water and apply soap.
  • Rub hands together, scrubbing all parts of your hands.
  • Scrub for at least 20 seconds.
  • Rinse hands thoroughly to remove soap.
  • Dry with a clean towel.

Keeping your hands clean will help prevent bacteria from getting into your food and mouth and causing oral complications. Cleaning your hands is important, and Dr. Stewart can show you how to keep your mouth clean as well. Contact our dental office in Livonia, MI at 734.425.4400 to schedule an appointment. We welcome families from the surrounding areas of Farmington Hills, Plymouth, Novi, Dearborn, Redford, and other nearby communities.