October 15 – Global Handwashing Day

Posted October 15, 2018

There are three crucial things about handwashing:

1) soap
2) running water
3) scrubbing

You have probably been told that washing your hands is important. ESPECIALLY before eating or preparing food, after using the bathroom or changing a diaper, after leaving a doctor's office or hospital, after blowing your nose or sneezing, and both before and after you tend a wound!

(I also wash my hands every time I come in from running errands, before folding clean laundry, and before unloading clean dishes from the dishwasher. And other times, too.)

Guess what? What you have always been told is absolutely true!!

Handwashing tends to way cut back on passing along diseases. So that means, if you wash your hands carefully, you will get sick less often, and you will also help to protect your friends and family.

But how important are the three biggies: soap, water, and scrubbing?

You may be surprised to find out that soap is the least important, and scrubbing and running water are the most important!

You see, germs and bacteria want to hang onto our hands, but using both hands together, vigorously rubbing our hands for 15 to 30 seconds and rinsing thoroughly with running water can loosen the hold of unwanted yicky stuff.

The good news is, you don't have to feel so very terrible if a public bathroom has run out of soap; you just rub and scrub your hands, counting the seconds "one-thousand-one, one-thousand-two...," under running water. And 15 to 30 seconds later, you're probably about as clean as you would have been with soap. 

That is good news! But...

The bad news is that soap can have bacteria in it! I was startled to read that. When your soap is contaminated, you could wash your hands with soap and end up with more, not fewer, bacteria on your hands! 

Here are some ways to combat soap contamination:

* Don't "top off" soap dispensers. Use up all the soap in a dispenser and then rinse with hot water. Let it dry thoroughly before refilling.

* Agitate so that the public restrooms you use don't refill soap dispensers with giant bottles of liquid soap. Instead, make sure that they use sealed refills.

* If you use bar soap, get a soap dish that allows it to dry between uses. 

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