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Health Tips Tuesday: Handwashing

National Handwashing Awareness Week is recognized this month.
National Handwashing Awareness Week is recognized this month.
Updated: Dec. 7, 2021 at 2:26 PM EST
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(WGGB/WSHM) - National Handwashing Awareness Week is recognized this month.

We spoke with Infection Control Practitioner Kristin Smith from Baystate Health to answer questions.

It may seem obvious, but why is it important to wash your hands?

Handwashing has always been important but it is especially important now. Washing your hands regularly can help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses, including COVID-19. It’s important to make sure you are washing correctly. A quick rinse isn’t enough to kill the germs so many diseases are spread by not washing their hands.

When should we be washing our hands?

There’s different rules for being inside the hospital and outside the hospital but I am going to be talking to the public. Before and after and during preparing food and after using the toilet. The CDC notes that only 31% of men and 65% of women wash their hands after using the public restroom. Also - before and after caring for someone who is sick, after touching animal feet or animal waste, after blowing your nose, sneezing or coughing. If soap and water are not available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.

How should we be washing our hands?

There’s five quick, easy steps to remember, it’s wet, lather, scrub, rinse and dry. Wet your hands with warm running water, lather your hands with soap and rub them together. Scrub your hands for 20 seconds and use a clean towel to dry them.