Click here for shortcuts to regional language blogs and city-specific events.
For kids, washing hands can be a fun and entertaining activity. It is simple enough for even very young children to understand. Handwashing gives children and adults a chance to take an active role in their own health. Once kids learn how to properly wash their hands, they can—and often do—show their parents and siblings and encourage them to wash hands, too.
Why young children are at increased risk
· Young children are at increased risk for contracting infectious
diseases because they:
· are grouped together, are exposed to many new germs
· have immune systems that are not fully developed to fight germs
· do not have complete control of body fluids that contain germs
· have personal habits that spread germs
· thumb sucking
· rubbing eyes
· putting things in their mouths
Parents can help keep their families healthy by:
· Teaching them good handwashing technique
· Reminding their kids to wash their hands
· Washing their own hands with their kids
Handwashing education in the community:
· Reduces the number of people who get sick with diarrhea by 31%
· Reduces diarrheal illness in people with weakened immune systems by 58%
· Reduces respiratory illnesses, like colds, in the general population by 21%
Saving Time and Money
Handwashing is one of the best ways to avoid getting sick and spreading illness to others.
· Reducing illness increases productivity due to:
· Less time spent at the doctor’s office
· More time spent at work or school
Helping Families Thrive
Children who have been taught handwashing at school bring that knowledge home to parents and siblings . This can help family members get sick less often and miss less work and school.
When To Wash
Hand washing can stop the spread of infection. The key is to encourage your child to wash her hands throughout the day. For example, help her or remind her to wash her hands:
· Before eating (including snacks)
· After a trip to the bathroom
· Whenever she comes in from playing outdoors
· After touching an animal like a family pet
· After sneezing or coughing if she covers her mouth
· When someone in the household is ill
Studies on hand washing in public restrooms show that most people don’t have very good hygiene habits. “Hand washing” may mean just a quick splash of water and perhaps a squirt of soap, but not nearly enough to get their hands clean.
Steps to Proper Hand Washing
So what does a thorough hand washing involve? The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends the following steps:
· Wet your child’s hands.
· Apply clean bar soap or liquid soap to the hands, and then place the bar on a rack where it can drain before the next hand washing.
· Rub the hands vigorously together. Scrub every surface completely.
· Keep rubbing and scrubbing for 10 to 15 seconds to effectively remove the germs.
· Rinse the hands completely, then dry them.
About Antibacterial Soaps
Drugstore shelves are full of trendy antibacterial soaps, but studies have shown that these antibacterial products are no better at washing away dirt and germs than regular soap. Some infectious disease experts have even suggested that by using antibacterial soaps, you may actually kill off normal bacteria and increase the chances that resistant bacteria may grow.
The best solution is to wash your child’s hands with warm water and ordinary soap that does not contain antibacterial substances .Regular use of soap and water is better than using waterless (and often alcohol-based) soaps, gels, rinses, and hand rubs when your child’s hands are visibly dirty (and with children, there usually is dirt on the hands!). However, when there is no sink available (eg, the car), hand rubs can be a useful alternative.
How Long to Wash
Keep in mind that although 10 to 15 seconds of hand washing sounds like an instant, it is much longer than you think. Time yourself the next time you wash your hands. Watch your child while she’s washing her hands to make sure she’s developing good hygiene behaviors. Pick a song that lasts for 15 seconds and sing it while you wash. Encourage your child to wash her hands not only at home, but also at school, at friends’ homes, and everywhere else.
It’s an important habit for her to get into, and hopefully one that’s hard to break!
Watch this video: