Wash Away Your Troubles . . . or at Least the Germs

You’d think by now we wouldn’t still be writing or reading articles about the value of proper hand washing in limiting the spread of bacteria, germs and common disease. But for all the buzz and promotion and hand wringing by caring mothers everywhere, people still don’t seem to get the message: Thorough, proper hand washing is the easiest, most cost effective and smartest way to prevent the spread of germs that cause a variety of diseases that are passed from person to person. Period.

Keeping hands clean through improved hand hygiene will help you avoid getting sick and reduce the spread of germs to others. Many diseases and conditions are spread when people don’t wash hands with soap and clean, running water. If soap and water are unavailable, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol to clean hands. But also know that if your hands are visibly dirty, sanitizer is not going to do the trick.

So, even though it’s an old story, we’re going to tell it again, especially since it’s summer and you and your kids are playing and working outdoors, attending fairs and picnics, visiting farms and beaches, and visiting all the places germs love to congregate.

You should always wash your hands:

  • Before, during, and after preparing food
  • Before eating food
  • Before and after caring for someone who is sick
  • Before and after treating a cut or wound
  • After using the toilet
  • After changing diapers or cleaning up a child who has used the toilet
  • After blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing
  • After touching an animal or animal waste
  • After handling pet food or pet treats
  • After touching garbage

And while you’re at it, washing your hands improperly negates the value, so here are some simple hand-hygiene tips:

  • Wet your hands with clean, running water (warm or cold) and apply soap.
  • Rub your hands together to make a lather and scrub them well.
  • Be sure to scrub the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails.
  • Continue rubbing your hands for at least 20 seconds. Need a timer? Hum the “Happy Birthday” song from beginning to end twice.
  • Rinse your hands well under running water.
  • Dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry them.

Of course, you don’t want to be a germaphobe, but common sense is always the best policy. ATMs, debit machines, gas pumps, door handles, laundromats, playgrounds…the list of potential incubation sites is endless. Our bodies are built for this, but with a little help from you, you’ll have fewer colds, infections, and other inconvenient ailments by practicing this simple, easy step. Post this article on your refrigerator, and have a great, healthy summer!


Be sure to check out the CBIA Healthy Connections wellness program at your company’s next renewal. Employees in this program have access to tools and information that can help improve their overall physical and mental well-being. The program is free to both you and your employees as part of your participation in CBIA Health Connections!