Handwashing

Everyone knows hand washing is important. But a new study shows how washing your hands often, and at the right time, can have a big impact on your family’s risk for getting sick.

A recent edition of  American Journal of Infection Control focuses on washing hands at home as a way to stop infections from spreading. Several studies show hands are the single most important transmission route for all types of infections.

Even though most people know to wash their hands after using the toilet or handling a diaper, studies suggest many people are still ending up with
germs, particularly those spread by feces, on their hands after leaving the bathroom or caring for a baby.


The study authors note that the timing of hand washing is key. It’s obvious to wash hands after using the toilet, after sneezing or before eating
or handling food. Other crucial times for hand washing are after changing a diaper or cleaning up after a pet, or after touching garbage
cans, cleaning cloths, cutting boards, dish rags and utensils that may have come into contact with raw food.

While it may be hard to believe that something as simple as regular hand washing can make a difference in your family’s health, consider what happened in Hong Kong during a 2003 outbreak of SARS, a severe and potentially deadly form of viral pneumonia. The outbreak triggered extensive public and community health measures promoting basic hygiene, including regular hand washing. Not only was the SARS outbreak contained, but other cases of respiratory illnesses, including the flu, dropped sharply.

Submitted by Sherri Meyer, MS, RD

Source: NY Times

Written By Sherri Meyer, Corporate Dietitian

May 14, 2009

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