Does hand washing really help?

Hand washing may be the easiest, best way to prevent disease.

Child's soapy hands under water

Image source: Thinkstock

It’s cold and flu season and many parents are asking, “How can I keep my child from getting sick?”

Children in daycares and schools are exposed to many other children, caregivers and other adults each day — many of whom may be sick. One of the best ways to prevent the spread of these illnesses is by good hand-washing technique.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC),  “Hand-washing is easy to do and it’s one of the most effective ways to prevent the spread of many types of infection and illness in all settings—from your home and workplace to child care facilities and hospitals. Clean hands can stop germs from spreading from one person to another and throughout an entire community.”

It’s important that we teach our kids how to wash their hands properly. ADC Clinical Manager Lyn Hamp explains how to teach kids to wash their hands in this video.

One of the key features to pay attention to is how long you need to be lathering those hands — 20 seconds!

A commonly recommended approach to making sure you and your child lather your hands for long enough is to sing the “Happy Birthday” song twice while scrubbing.

Don’t have soap and running water? Hand gels that are at least 60 percent alcohol are effective as long as hands are not visibly dirty or greasy.

When you use hand gels, make sure to cover the surface of your hands completely and rub until they are dry. Check out this video for how to use hand sanitizers properly.

Stay healthy!