National Hand Washing Awareness Week December 4-10, 2011
National Hand Washing Awareness Week promotes the message of the importance of hand washing for keeping healthy. Sponsored by the Henry the Hand Foundation, the week encourages hand washing as a way to prevent flu or flu-like illness.
There’s a right way to wash your hands. A splash of water and a drop or two of soap won’t do the trick. Follow these simple steps to keep your hands clean:
In public restrooms, consider using a paper towel to flush the toilet and open the door because toilet and door handles harbor germs. Throw the towel away after you leave. To prevent chapping or dry skin, use a mild soap with warm water, pat rather than rub hands dry, and apply a moisturizing lotion liberally afterwards.
When there is no soap or water available, waterless hand soaps or scrubs are a good alternative. They’re usually available as a liquid, wipes, or towelettes, and often come in small travel sizes that are perfect for keeping in your book bag, car, locker, purse, or sports bag.
Remember, proper and frequent hand washing is the key to preventing the spread of many common infections. So hum a few verses of “Happy Birthday” and lather up!
Know the four principles of hand awareness:
A little handwashing history:
By the mid-19th century, people were timidly experimenting with bathing, but scientists still believed that disease spread through decaying matter and bad smells. When Ignaz Semmelweis insisted that Viennese doctors wash their hands in between performing autopsies and delivering babies, he was ridiculed, even though the practice greatly reduced death from puerperal fever. Semmelweis’s simple but radical idea gained currency only in the 20th century. The germ theory slowly triumphed — but until the development of sulfa and antibiotics, almost the only way to fight microbes was by washing them off.
Even with antibiotics, washing off
microbes remains an excellent idea. This ancient mark of courtesy is now
celebrated in public health campaigns, and the Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention has anointed it as “the single most important means of preventing
the spread of infection.”
So, learn from science as well as the wisdom of our ancestors, and wash your hands!
|Printable Version||E-mail a Friend|