December is a busy month filled with family get-togethers, social events, and friends sharing holiday goodies. But these gatherings may also share viruses like the flu that can cause serious illness and for older adults can be life-threatening; that’s why hand washing awareness is so important.
December marks National Hand Washing Awareness Month, and with so many new findings about the spread and prevention of illness, it is more important than ever. Hand sanitizers are commonly used, but newer research has found that the use of these gels could create alcohol and drug-resistant virus strains. Instead, experts recommend using plain soap and water, rubbing hands together under water to dislodge harmful microbes. Antibacterial soaps have been found to be no more effective than mechanical scrubbing to clean hands and may also contribute to the appearance of resistant organisms. US researchers also determined that paper towels are the best hand-drying method to maintain a clean environment. Hand dryers and jet air dryers may spread bacteria, contributing to contamination throughout bathrooms.
Here is the right way to wash your hands. Wet your hands with water and apply soap. Lather your hands by rubbing them together, getting between fingers and on the back of your hands. Scrub for 20 seconds; wondering how long 20 seconds are, try humming Happy Birthday twice. Rinse your hands in running water with fingers pointed down to allow soap and germs to run off. Day hands with a paper towel or clean hand towel. Following this handwashing process will lower your and other’s chance of getting sick this winter.
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