Handwashing is one of the simplest yet one of the most effective ways we can do to prevent the spread of diseases. The physicians of Premier Surgical Associates in Knoxville and Cleveland want to remind everyone that handwashing is one of the most important steps we can take to keep ourselves and others from getting sick.

The Importance of Handwashing
Feces from both people and animals are some of the sources of microorganisms like Salmonella, E. Coli, and norovirus. These germs can spread respiratory infections like adenovirus.

These harmful microbes can get on our hands after someone uses the toilet or changes a diaper and then touches something else without washing their hands. They can also get into our hands after handling raw meat with invisible traces of animal poop on it.

If we end up touching that contaminated object and put our hands in our mouth, eyes, or nose, we can get sick.

By thoroughly washing our hands, we can reduce our chances of getting diarrhea, and respiratory infections like COVID-19. For people with compromised immune systems, hand washing is critical to avoid getting sick and can even help battle the rising case of antibiotic resistance.

When to wash your hands
Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water for about 20 seconds in these instances:

  • After using public spaces
  • After touching your nose, coughing, or sneezing
  • Before preparing food and eating
  • After using the restroom
  • After handling a mask
  • After changing a diaper
  • After feeding an animal
  • After preparing raw meat
  • After caring for someone who is sick
  • After petting or touching animals

How to properly wash your hands
Handwashing only becomes effective when done properly. Here’s how to correctly do it:

Step 1. Wet your hands with clean, running water.
Step 2. Apply soap.
Step 3. Lather your hands by rubbing them together. Include the back of your hands, in-between fingers, and under your nails.
Step 4. Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds. You can use a timer or use the “Happy Birthday” song as a guide.
Step 5. Rinse your hands under clean, running water.
Step 6. Dry your hands thoroughly.
Wash your hands and keep yourself and the people around you safe and healthy!