The holiday season is the time in which family and friends gather together in various fun festivities. However, it is also a time that germs can be spread, as flu viruses spread more quickly when people gather in homes and around tables.

To prevent viruses from spreading, it is important to remember to continually wash your hands this season, and that is why December is National Hand Washing Month.

As part of our ministry in December, Deaconess Faith Community Nurse Ministries will emphasis the importance of washing hands and teach communities the best hand washing techniques.

Hand washing with soap and warm water is the “vaccine” that prevents infections and flu. The simple act of washing hands with soap and warm water can reduce illness by 50%. The best process for washing your hands includes these five steps:

  1. Wet hands with clean warm running water
  2. Lather hands (front and back) and wrists (front and back) with soap
  3. Scrub at least 20 seconds (which is enough time to hum “Happy Birthday”)
  4. Rinse hands thoroughly, leaving the water on
  5. Dry with clean paper towel, turning the water off with the towel once the hands are dried.

These steps should be used at all times, and for the holidays, there might be added times where washing your hands differs from the rest of the year. Times for washing your hands include:

  •             Before, during and after preparing food
  •             Before one eats
  •             Before and after caring for someone who is ill
  •             Before and after treating a cut or open wound
  •             After using the bathroom
  •             After changing a diaper or cleaning a child that used the bathroom
  •             After blowing your nose, cough, or sneeze
  •             After touching an animal, animal food or animal waste
  •             After taking out the garbage

Lastly, it is important to note that hand sanitizers may not be effective, especially when hands are visibly dirty or greasy. To be certain your hands are cleaned properly, it is best to always use soap and water.

We hope you enjoy the holidays germ-free and healthy!