Handwashing is the simplest, but also the most underrated way of preventing sickness. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), it is one of the best ways to protect yourself and your family from getting sick.
Most disease is spread through direct and indirect contact. In our day to day life, we are often in direct physical contact with other people who may be sick, and it is easy for disease to spread from others we are in close contact with.
Other more indirect ways of spreading disease includes physical contact with a contaminated surface. Doorknobs, childrens’ toys, pens, beds, tables and medical instruments are a few examples of items that can indirectly transmit disease, particularly if there are infected bodily droplets on these items.
So why is it important to wash your hands? If someone with the flu or a cold sneezes into their hands and grabs a doorknob that you touch immediately afterwards, the chances of becoming ill with the flu are significantly higher if you do not wash your hands. Some other diseases that can spread through direct and indirect contact are measles, coronavirus (COVID-19), diarrhea and tuberculosis.
You can help yourself and your loved ones stay healthy by washing your hands often, especially during these key times when you are likely to get and spread germs:
- Before, during, and after preparing food
- Before eating food
- Before and after caring for someone at home who is sick with vomiting or diarrhea
- Before and after treating a cut or wound
- After using the toilet
- After changing diapers or cleaning up a child who has used the toilet
- 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
Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds after going to the bathroom, before eating, and especially after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. If soap and water are not readily available, one recommendation is to have an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol handy.
If you are feeling feverish, experiencing shortness of breath, and coughing, please visit Watts Healthcare Same Day Clinic for immediate assistance.