Blog How Handwashing Will Help Keep You and Your Family Healthy

How Handwashing Will Help Keep You and Your Family Healthy

September 28, 2021 · Personal Lines

As fall is setting in, this time of year can be so fun. The anticipation from the coming holidays and all that entails has each of us giddy for the cold weather. It seems like every year we forget the inevitable looming colds and viruses that come. One of the best things we can do to help prevent getting sick and prevent spreading it is properly washing our hands.

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Did you know some of the most common things we touch throughout the day can have the most germs on them?

Smartphones

“The average smartphone user touches their phone 2,617 times a day. Whether you carry it around or just send a ton of texts, you probably don’t realize how many germs you come across when you touch it. Smartphones can even carry fecal matter. Handwashing can help keep your phone clean. It’s also best to wipe your phone with a disinfectant wet wipe daily.” (Mercyhealth)

Remote control

“Just like your smartphone, your TV remote is something you probably touch every day along with everyone else in your house. The remote falls on the floor, too. You can wipe it down daily to help kill some germs.” (Mercyhealth)

Towels

“What’s the next dirtiest thing in your bathroom? Probably your towels. No matter how clean you think you are, you still have germs that transfer to those towels after you shower or wash your hands. Wash your towels after two days or two uses to keep germs at bay. Use bleach and hot water whenever possible.” (Mercyhealth)

Restaurant Menus

“When the server hands us a menu, most of us aren't thinking about just how many hands have touched it. "Not to get everyone frantic, but menus are rarely cleaned," Dr. Schimpff points out. When they are, they are usually just wiped down—not disinfected!” (Eatthis)

Self-checkout Kiosk

“When the lines are long, it can save time to check yourself out—but you also may be checking in with germs, warns Thanu Jey, DC, Clinic Director at Yorkville Sports Medicine Clinic. "Studies have found that self-checkout kiosks can be covered in germs, especially ones used in fast-food restaurants and airports," points out Dr. Jey. "Since kiosks are used by many people in succession, in areas that follow food and washroom usage, this makes them a bed for germs." Because they are used constantly, there is no possible way to clean them in-between uses.” (Eatthis)

Gas Station Pumps

“Most of are worried about getting gas on our hands at the gas station, when we should be worried about germs. "Gas station pumps and their screens are used in continuity by people that drive, which makes for an easy way to facilitate the transfer of bacteria and germs," Dr. Jey points out. Since the pumps are difficult to sanitize, make sure you do a good job of cleaning your hands after use.” (Eatthis)

Light Switches

“When we clean our homes, we usually focus on areas like the bathroom, kitchen, and bedroom. We may even wipe down the television, windows, or other areas that look dirty. But most of us don't think to disinfect every light switch—despite the fact many dirty fingers touch them daily.” (Eatthis)

When to wash your hands

Now that we have properly scared you from touching anything, here are some of the best times to wash your hands per the CDC:

Key Times to Wash Hands

You can help yourself and your loved ones stay healthy by washing your hands often, especially during these key times when you are likely to get and spread germs:

  • Before, during, and after preparing food
  • Before and after eating food
  • Before and after caring for someone at home who is sick with vomiting or diarrhea
  • Before and after treating a cut or wound
  • After using the toilet
  • After changing diapers or cleaning up a child who has used the toilet
  • After blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing
  • After touching an animal, animal feed, or animal waste
  • After handling pet food or pet treats
  • After touching garbage

When to wash your hands

Now that we know when we should wash our hands, here is how per the CDC:

Follow Five Steps to Wash Your Hands the Right Way

Washing your hands is easy, and it’s one of the most effective ways to prevent the spread of germs. Clean hands can stop germs from spreading from one person to another and throughout an entire community—from your home and workplace to childcare facilities and hospitals.

Follow these five steps every time.

  1. Wet your hands with clean, running water (warm or cold), turn off the tap, and apply soap.
  2. Lather your hands by rubbing them together with the soap. Lather the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails.
  3. Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds. Need a timer? Hum the “Happy Birthday” song from beginning to end twice.
  4. Rinse your hands well under clean, running water.
  5. Dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry them.

We hope you have a happy and healthy fall season.

-Archibald Leavitt Team