Wellness for the Family: Handwashing 101

It’s the season for sickness and that means handwashing is more important than ever.

We were back with registered dietitian Grace Derocha from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan to get some scary statistics and tips on hand washing.

She says that although many people think anti-bacterial soaps are the best option, they can actually make germs stronger and they are not any more effective than regular soaps. Also, she said that hand sanitizer should only be used when you do not have access to a sink.

Many people wash their hands with near boiling hot water, but according to Grace, they can actually be tearing away at the skin and letting in even more bacteria.

She told us about how many people wash their hands after using the bathroom, changing diapers, sneezing, coughing, and even picking up after their pets bathroom breaks and the numbers are down-right scary.

Here is her step-by-step guide to handwashing:

  1. Start by wetting hands with clean water.
    • The temperature is a minor detail, but it’s recommended to use either cold or lukewarm water to prevent damage to the skin.
  2. Apply an adequate amount of soap, as recommended by the label, to the palms.
  3. Scrub every surface of hands, including the palms, backs, in-between fingers and under nails.
    • This should last about 20 seconds or the duration of singing “Happy Birthday”.
    • Avoid excessively scrubbing as this can damage the skin and create cracks for bacteria to enter.
  4. Rinse thoroughly
  5. Dry with a clean towel

So wash those hands and stay healthy this winter!

Categories: the four, Wellness for the Family