More People Taking Handwashing Seriously During Pandemic

The Centers for Disease Control calls handwashing the most important thing you can do to prevent illness. Frequent handwashing can help prevent the spread of colds and flu, as well as more serious diseases like COVID-19, meningitis and hepatitis-A.

The good news is that more of us in the last year are taking handwashing  seriously as we’ve become aware of how this hygiene habit can dramatically reduce the spread of COVID-19. A new CDC study shows that now 71% of people – compared to 53% in 2019 – are washing their hands after coughing, sneezing or blowing their nose.

There has also been an increase in handwashing before we eat. At home, 74% are now washing their hands compared to just under 63% in 2019. When dining out at restaurants, more than 70% people are heading to the restroom to wash up before sitting down compared to 55% in 2019.

In an effort to stop the spread of infectious diseases and promote awareness, December 1-7, 2020 is observed as National Handwashing Awareness Week.

The principles behind effective handwashing are pretty simple and easy to practice.

When to wash:

  • Wash your hands when they’re dirty.
  • Always wash your hands before eating.
  • Always wash your hands after using the bathroom, changing diapers, cleaning up after pets, or handling money.
  • Don’t cough or sneeze into your hands.
  • Don’t put your fingers in your eyes, nose, or mouth.

How to wash:

  • Wet hands with warm (not hot) water and use soap.
  • Rub you hands together, making sure to scrub all areas.
  • Rub for a minimum of 20 seconds or sing “Happy Birthday.”
  • Rinse thoroughly, then dry hands on a clean towel.
  • Turn faucet off with the towel, not hands, to keep away from recontamination.

For more information, visit the CDC.


Photo credit: Mladen Zivkovic

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