Handwashing for 20 Seconds makes the Germs go Away

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For Immediate Release 4/2/20

Clay County Health Department

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Hayesville, NC- Did you know the best way to prevent Flu, COVID-19, and other viruses is to wash your hands. Handwashing is the gold standard of hygiene and it is easy to do. When washing your hands you want to scrub every surface of the hand outside the water making sure to wash the palms, backs of the hands, in-between the fingers, around the wrists, and scrap your nails along the palms to get underneath. So why 20 seconds? 20 seconds allows for enough friction to dislodge any unwelcome germs to then be washed away when it is time to rinse. Now I know most people don’t want to stand there counting to 20 so another thing to do is sing Happy Birthday twice and there you have it. 20 seconds and some sparkling clean hands. 

When should you wash your hands? You should wash your hands before preparing food, after touching an animal, after blowing/wiping your nose, after using the restroom, coming in from outside, or anytime you think they may just need to be washed. What if you don’t have access to running water and soap? This is the time to use hand sanitizer that has an alcohol content of 62% or higher. With hand sanitizer you want to get enough to cover all the surfaces discussed above and rubbing it in till it is completely dry. Remember this does have alcohol in it so be mindful around open flames when your hands are still drying. When you are able you should still wash with soap and water.

Try to be mindful of your clean hands. When you are in the bathroom don’t turn off the water with your clean hands. Instead use a paper towel to turn the water off and open the door then throw the paper towel away. If you have used a tissue throw it away and wash your hands. Handwashing should always be thought of when we think of health. If you think about it our hands touch everything including what everyone else has touched. So, get those vocal cords ready and sing Happy Birthday through twice to get the clean hands that we all want.