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A Reminder on the Importance of Proper Hand Washing

We probably don’t need to tell you that proper hand washing significantly reduces the spread of the common cold, flu, infection and food poisoning. This is pretty common knowledge, especially for nurses! But it can’t hurt to have a refresher on the basics of hand washing to help keep yourself and those around you healthy. Here are some tips on when and how to scrub up!


When it comes to washing your hands, it’s best practice to wash them for 20 seconds under running water with soap. The water can be warm or cold, it makes no difference. What’s most important is washing in between your fingers, under your nails, and your wrists. Then, rinse your hands well under the running water. Avoid turning off the faucet with clean hands by using a towel or paper towel to turn off the faucet instead. Dry your hands with a clean towel, a paper towel or allow them to air dry.

It can be hard to keep track of the 20 second timeframe, especially for children. A classic trick is to sing “Happy Birthday” twice or to say the ABC’s twice. Those are about 20 seconds in length and will help you pass the time as you get clean!


According to the CDC, you should 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 going to the bathroom
  • After blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing
  • After touching an animal, animal feed, or animal waste
  • After handling pet food or pet treats
  • After touching garbage

Other Tips

  • If you find yourself far from a sink, using hand sanitizer is a great alternative to reducing the number of germs on your hands.
  • To avoid getting more germs on your hands and spreading them to people and surfaces you touch, cough and sneeze into your elbow or shoulder.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth as much as possible. You don’t want to pass the germs on your hands and fingers to sensitive places on your body.

Spread the Word, Not the Germs!

If you’re looking for ways to remind students about proper hand washing techniques, we recommend hanging posters and handing out stickers. Those are fun ways to remind kids the proper ways to wash their hands and to instill lifelong habits.

And if you want to show them what’s really on their hands, check out these lotions and powders. Apply them to hands after washing and place them under a UV light to reveal the germs that remain (even after you think your hands are clean!).

If you have any questions, please contact MacGill. We’re here to help!

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