MINNEAPOLIS — Cold weather has arrived. 

The holiday gatherings are just around the corner.

And, it’s also flu season.

Put them all together and you get a whole lotta close interactions with people who may be carrying all sorts of germs. There’s no better time for brushing up on your hand washing skills.

Public health experts contend good hand washing hygiene is important all year long. During winter and the holidays, it’s especially important. Colds and flu symptoms have people coughing and sneezing into their hands. Food preparation for holiday baking and family meals can lead to contamination from bacteria. Then there’s the shopping exposure from multiple hands touching store door handles, merchandise, and cash at the checkout. Ick.

The Minnesota Department of Health says washing your hands is the best way to stop germs from spreading.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says germs/bacteria on your hands enter your body when you touch your eyes, nose, or mouth.  CDC experts say the average person touches their eyes, nose, or mouth up to 25 times each hour

Hand washing done right

The CDC says proper hand washing is a five-step process that should take at least 20 seconds to be done right.
From the CDC: https://www.cdc.gov/handwashing/when-how-handwashing.html

  1. Wet your hands with clean, running water (warm or cold), turn off the tap, and apply soap.
  2. Lather your hands by rubbing them together with the soap. Lather the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails.
  3. Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds. Need a timer? Hum the “Happy Birthday” song from beginning to end twice.
  4. Rinse your hands well under clean, running water.
  5. Dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry them.

Click here for information on the science behind these recommendations

TL/DR? Here’s a link to hand washing videos

The CDC also has information on the effectiveness of hand sanitizers, anti-bacterial soap, and how often you should wash your hands to stay healthy. 

Know Your Numbers Hand Washing

This information is provided by Health Fair 11 as part of its Know Your Numbers Campaign.  Health Fair 11 is a non-profit organization that operates with the support of KARE 11 TV and UCare. Learn more at www.HealthFair11.org. To find out how your organization can become an official Health Fair 11 sponsor, email healthfair@kare11.com .

Resources used for this article

MN Department of Health – Hand Hygiene

CDC: Hand washing Saves Lives 

CDC: When & How Often 

CDC Hand washing videos