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Safe Hands: Why It's Important To Wash Hands?

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There’s a fun song that kids are taught in school that goes to the tune of a popular rhyme ‘Row, row, row your boat’.

Wash, wash, wash your hands

Wash them nice and clean

Scrub them here

Scrub them there

And scrub them in between

It’s important to teach our kids about hand washing early in life because it protects them from bacteria and germs that surround them. But let’s face it, even when they know how to do it, they don’t always take the time out to do it and need reminders and coaxing. Our kids don’t always like to wash hands as it takes them away from more exciting things like play and eating. So a good strategy is to make hand-washing part of the fun through songs or stories.

Why is hand-washing important?

It’s by far the best way to keep them from getting sick and to prevent the spread of germs. Here are some instances of how germs spread:

  • touching dirty hands
  • contaminated water or food
  • droplets released during a cough or sneeze
  • contaminated surfaces – floors, door handles, public places
  • contact with a sick person

Germs can enter our child’s body when their hands are dirty but also when they eat or rub their eyes, nose are mouth. Once a family member is infected, the infection can spread through the family.

Almost 51% of cold and flu viruses can be killed by proper hand washing at least 3 times a day.

Is there a right way to wash hands?

Hand washing is only effective at killing germs if it’s done effectively. The golden rule is to wash hands at least 3 times a day, and for 20 seconds each time.

We should make sure our kids wash hands:

  • Before eating and cooking food
  • Before and after using the bathroom
  • After cleaning the house
  • After touching animals and pets
  • After visiting or taking care of sick friends or relatives
  • After coughing, sneezing or blowing one’s nose
  • After being outside – playing, gardening, walking the dog

Soap and water is most effective to clean hands. But if not handy, hand sanitizers are also effective at eliminating the majority of germs.

Here’s an effective hand-washing routine to teach our kids to ensure their hands are properly cleaned and free of germs.

  • 1. Wash hands in warm water. Make sure the water isn't too hot for little hands.
  • 2. Use soap and lather up for about 10 to 15 seconds. Make sure they get in between the fingers and under the nails where uninvited germs like to hang out. Ensure they don’t forget to wash their wrists!
  • 3. Rinse and dry well with a clean towel.

Mums, don’t underestimate the power of washing hands! The few seconds we spend at the sink with our child could save us a few trips to the doctor's office. Also, the sooner our child learns good personal hygiene, the more likely it is that it will become a habit for life.

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