Wash Up for Health!

Share this post

Washing your hands is the first line of defense against colds, flus, and other viruses and bacteria. It’s so effective at preventing disease that the Center for Disease Control calls it a do-it-yourself vaccine. October 15 is Global Handwashing Day. To commemorate this auspicious day, here are a few frequently asked questions about the art of handwashing (based on recommendations from the CDC).

Q: How exactly are you supposed to wash your hands?

A: Let’s go through it step by step.

  1. Wet your hands. Use running water—warm or cold.
  2. Lather. It doesn’t matter what kind of soap you use—bar soap, foamy soap, scented soap—use something you’ll enjoy! Conserve water by turning off the tap while you scrub.
  3. Scrub. For t-w-e-n-t-y whole seconds. Yes, that may be longer than you expected, but you don’t have to think of it as a waste of time: Meditate. Make a grocery list in your head. Perfect your presentation. Sing the alphabet song. Celebrate the act of protecting yourself against disease.
  4. Rinse. Turn the water on and rinse.
  5. Dry. Use a clean paper towel or air-dry your hands.

Q: When should you wash your hands?
A: Handwashing is important in many situations.

  • Always wash your hands after using the restroom.
  • Cooking with raw meat? Wash your hands before and after handling it.
  • If you’re preparing a meal, wash your hands before handling any food. After you wash your vegetables, wash your hands again. Meat and fresh vegetables can both carry bacteria.
  • Wash your hands after you return home from work or errands. Make it a habit—walk in your door and visit the closest sink. Why? Well, think about how many doors you’ve opened, railings you’ve touched, and hands you’ve shaken.
  • If you’re sick, wash your hands anytime you think about it—especially after coughing, blowing your nose, or sneezing.
  • Wash your hands after handling animals or animal/human waste.

Q: Why is handwashing effective?
A: It’s simple! The water and soap work together to get rid of germs that can make us sick. The germs are scrubbed off and go down the drain, where they can no longer be transferred to a doorknob, onto another person’s hand, into prepared food, or onto a shared computer mouse, for instance.

Q: Does antibacterial hand sanitizer work just as well as handwashing?
A: No. But it is a good alternative when there’s no access to running water. Be sure the sanitizer contains at least 60 percent alcohol. While sanitizers can remove some germs, they do not remove all types of germs, and should not be used instead of handwashing when running water is available.

Q: How should I celebrate Global Handwashing Day?
A: Wash your hands and spread the word!

Dana Lester has a bachelor’s degree in nutrition and dietetics. She is passionate about holistic wellness, eating fruit, and writing.


Subscribe to the WEEKLY BITE

* indicates required


Recent WorkLife articles:

Massage for migraines
August 2, 2018
Free online professional skills development can produce (big B) Benefits
July 31, 2018
Why bottle filling stations are better than bottled water
July 3, 2018
The dangers of presenteeism
June 26, 2018
Team chat apps take over the office
June 7, 2018
Getting out of the office can strengthen your team
May 29, 2018
All they want is a little r-e-s-p-e-c-t
May 24, 2018
Creating a mom-friendly office
May 17, 2018
5 tips for managing remote workers effectively
May 8, 2018
Declutter, clean, and decorate your way to a more productive workspace
May 1, 2018

More recent articles:

Tips on training for runners of any level
September 7, 2018
Winter and summer oranges
August 23, 2018
Farmer suicide is a public health threat and could hurt our food supply
August 14, 2018
How to make vegetarian sushi at home
August 7, 2018
Enjoy this prized Sonoma County apple—and help support the farmers who grow it
July 26, 2018
How to keep your favorite fruit fresh through the summer heat
July 19, 2018
Simple ways to keep your skin safe
July 17, 2018
Sink your teeth into summer stone fruit
July 10, 2018
Everything you need to stay safe from ticks
July 5, 2018
Zero Balancing may be the best bodywork you’ve never heard of
July 3, 2018

About Us

Our online magazine offers a taste of workplace culture, trends, and healthy living. It features recipes for easy, delicious work meals and tips on quick office workouts. It's also an opportunity to learn about our GoodWorks program, which helps those in need in our communities and supports small, sustainable farms.