Why Handwashing Is Important.

Why Is Hand Washing So Important?

Children don’t always listen when parents tell them to wash their hands before eating, after using the bathroom, or when they come inside from playing.  But it’s a message worth repeating- hand washing is by far, the best way to prevent germs from spreading and to keep kids from getting sick. Good hand washing protects against the spread of many illnesses from the common cold (which is responsible for 22 million lost school days each year) to more serious illnesses.  

When children come into contact with germs, they can unknowingly become infected simply by touching their eyes, nose, or mouth.  Once they are infected, it’s usually just a matter of time before the whole family comes down with the same illness.  

Here’s how to scrub those germs away.  Teach this routine to your children – or better yet, wash your hands together often so they learn how important this good habit is:

  1. Wash your hands in warm water. Not too hot and not too cold. 

  2. Use soap and lather up for about 20 seconds. Make sure you get in between the fingers and under the nails where germs like to hang out. Don’t forget the wrists!

  3. Rinse and dry well with a clean towel.  

To minimize the germs passed around your family, make regular hand washing a rule for everyone, especially:

  1. Before eating and cooking

  2. After using the bathroom

  3. After cleaning around the house

  4. After touching animals, including family pets

  5. After blowing one’s nose, coughing, or sneezing

  6. After playing outside

  7. For parents, it’s not a bad idea to carry hand sanitizer or antibacterial wipes for use after trips to the grocery store, the gym, or pumping gas

Don’t underestimate the power of hand washing! Those few seconds you spend at the sink could save you trips to the doctor’s office. 

Lynn Friedman, RN

School Nurse