Coliseum Health System - July 22, 2016

This year, nearly 60 million students will enroll in elementary and secondary schools in the U.S. With the cold and flu season on the horizon, Coliseum Health System encourages parents teach their children to wash their hands properly before school starts.

Washing hands is easy to get the hang of, but not as simple as people might think. There actually is a right way to wash your hands, and your kids need to know that too. It may seem like a chore, but effective hand-washing is the easiest way to prevent the spread of disease and infection. This is especially important in places like school where children regularly come in close contact with one another. The process doesn't have to be hard, and from start to finish can take less than 60 seconds.

The best way to wash your hands is with soap and warm water, scrubbing your hands together for 20 seconds or longer, lightly scratching your nails on each palm in the soapy water to get germs out from under the nails themselves, and then rinsing clean. It's a good idea to use your towel to turn off the faucet and open the door afterward, if you can.

Here are some tips for keeping hands clean:

  • Teach children to sing "Happy Birthday" twice while they wash their hands to be sure they wash them for the right length of time (20 seconds or more).
  • Don't forget the soap! It is the soap combined with a scrubbing action that dislodges dirt and germs.
  • Use your paper towel or sleeve to turn off the faucet and open the door.
  • Add bottles of hand sanitizer to your car, purse, bag, and child's backpack or lunchbox as a second option for when soap and water aren't available.

Remember, washing your hands isn't enough to stay healthy. Sleep, eating a good breakfast and regular exercise are always key elements to a healthy lifestyle no matter what your age is.