Follow Five Handwashing Steps for Infection Control
Kick off a healthy holiday season with National Handwashing Awareness Week
The holiday season brings people close together for home and office parties, where they can share good times—and germs. National Handwashing Awareness Week, December 2 – 8, is the ideal time to remind your staff of the importance of proper hand hygiene.
Many diseases and conditions are spread by not washing hands with soap and clean, running water, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The CDC recommends a five-step process for efficient handwashing:
- Wet your hands with clean, running water. Either warm or cold water is fine but be sure to use running water instead of placing your hands in a basin of standing water that may be contaminated due to previous use.
- Lather your hands by rubbing them together with soap, being sure to scrub the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails. Scrubbing hands creates friction, which lifts dirt, grease, and microbes from your skin.
- Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds to remove all the microbes. Singing the
“Happy Birthday” song twice while scrubbing will ensure you are washing long enough.
- Rinse your hands under clean, running water to remove the germs that the soap and scrubbing friction removed from your skin.
- Dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry them. Germs can be transferred more easily to and from wet hands, so be sure to dry them thoroughly after washing so they are not recontaminated.