December Is Handwashing Awareness Month!

Closeup of a person washing their hands during Hand Washing Awareness Month to protect from COVID-19

During the COVID-19 pandemic, handwashing has become a more essential practice than ever before. It’s one of the best ways for preventing and reducing the spread of coronavirus and other illnesses because of how simple yet effective it is. Washing your hands several times throughout the day not only keeps you and your family safe, but it helps protect others in your community as well.

In honor of Handwashing Awareness Month, here are a few hand hygiene tips that you should be practicing on a regular basis.

Frequently Wash Your Hands

You should always wash your hands before meals and after using the restroom. It’s also a good idea to wash your hands after you get home from running errands and doing things like touching door handles, keypads, shopping carts, and gas pumps. It’s important to wash more than just your palms as well; your wrists, the backs of your hands, in-between your fingers, your fingertips, and under your nails should also be washed every time.

Wash Your Hands for at Least 20 Seconds

Washing your hands properly is just as important as washing them frequently. If you apply soap to your hands and then immediately wash it off, the soap and friction from rubbing does not have enough time to break down the outer layer of each virus particle, which is what destroys the virus and prevents it from doing any further damage. Scrubbing your hands for at least 20 seconds helps to pry off harmful bacteria that are stuck to the skin so that they can be washed away.

You Don’t Need to Use Antibacterial Soap

Sometimes people are concerned that the soap that they are using is not good enough, when in reality, any bar or liquid soap that you can find will effectively clean your hands, even if it doesn’t say “antibacterial” on it. In fact, chronic use of antibacterial soap may lead to bacterial resistance. Additionally, handwashing is generally preferred over hand sanitizer, but using hand sanitizer is definitely better than nothing and can be more convenient in certain situations.

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