TMH: Hand washing key in battling winter bugs
December 27, 2010
With winter comes cold and flu season and, in turn, a good reason to refocus your efforts on the benefits of thorough hand washing.
"Hand washing is the single best way to prevent illness and spread of disease and germs," said Beka Warren, chief quality officer at The Memorial Hospital in Craig.
"Of equal importance is washing your hands properly with soap and water, or, if necessary, using hand sanitizer.
"Hand sanitizer and antibacterial soaps may be used when regular soap and water aren't available. They are as effective at killing germs as regular soap, but frequent use may lead to the development of bacteria that are resistant to the product's antimicrobial agents, making it harder to kill these germs in the future."
TMH officials advise you should always wash your hands before:
• Preparing food.
• Administering medicine/med-
• Touching a baby or sick per-
• Putting in/taking out contact lenses.
TMH officials also advise you should always wash your hands after:
• Using the restroom.
• Changing a diaper.
• Blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing into your hands.
• Preparing food, especially raw meat.
• Touching an animal or its toys/litter box/waste.
• Handling garbage or other pot-
entially contaminated items.
• Touching a sick person.
• Treating wounds.
Parents, teachers and childcare providers can help children stay healthier, too, by encouraging them to wash their hands properly and frequently.
"Wash your hands with the child to show them how it's done," Warren said. "Prevent rushing by suggesting children sing a song as they wash…the ABCs works well for this. And never hesitate to remind children to wash their hands after using the toilet, after coming inside after playing, or before a meal."
TMH staffers follow the World Health Organization's guide-
lines for hand hygiene, which are below:
• Wet hands with water.
• Apply enough soap to cover all hand surfaces.
• Rub hands palm to palm.
• Right palm over back of left hand with fingers interlaced and vice versa.
• Palm to palm with fingers interlaced.
• Backs of fingers to opposing palms with fingers interlocked.
• Rotational rubbing of left thumb clasped in right palm and vice versa.
• Rotational rubbing, backwards and forwards with clasped fingers of right hand in left palm and vice versa.
• Rinse hands with water.
• Dry hands thoroughly with a single use towel.
• Use towel to turn off faucet.