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Tips to Ensure Proper Handwashing and Its Importance

Dec 3, 2019
Mother teaching child how to wash hands

Personal hygiene is important, especially handwashing. From an early age, handwashing is emphasized, but it’s not always done right. You don’t have to wash your hands from fingertip to elbow like you’re scrubbing in for surgery. However, there are basic handwashing techniques that do a better job of getting rid of germs than others. Check out these handwashing tips that health care professionals at medical centers in Suffolk County, NY, want you to know.

Are You Spending Enough Time Washing Your Hands?

Medical health centers want to see fewer patients suffering from colds and the flu. One way to do this is to focus on washing your hands properly after using the restroom.  Health professionals want you to remember the 20-second rule. The rule is simple. Spend 20 seconds lathering up your hands and scrubbing between fingers, under the nails, and the back of the hands while rinsing them under clean water. Do this each time you wash your hands to keep germs from spreading.

To help you stick with the 20-second rule, experts want you to remember the following 5 steps:

  • Wet
  • Lather
  • Scrub
  • Rinse
  • Dry

Are You Washing Your Hands Enough?

Experts at family medical centers find that many people don’t wash their hands enough. They wash their hands after using the restroom, but they don’t wash them at other critical times. Handwashing is important before eating; if you cough or sneeze into your hands; and if your fingers have been in your mouth, nose, or eyes for any reason.

Handwashing Prevents Many Illnesses

Often, handwashing is associated with preventing the spread of the flu and the common cold. However, other germs spread because of poor hygiene. For example, the Centers for Disease Control says that handwashing could protect 1 out of 3 young children with diarrhea-related illnesses and 1 out of 5 with pneumonia and other respiratory illnesses. In fact, the CDC goes on to say that these two illnesses are the cause of death for 1.8 million children under 5 worldwide. Handwashing also prevents salmonella and other foodborne illnesses.  

Lathering with soap

Handwashing Improves School Performance

Although this might sound like a bit of a stretch, think about it for a moment. When children get sick, they might miss school. If they’re coming down with something every few weeks and miss a handful of days, this affects their learning. They have to spend time catching up when they return to school. Parents who encourage children to learn proper handwashing techniques and lead by example have healthier households and healthier children who don’t need to miss school. Healthy hands equal healthy families.

Spend Less Time at Urgent Medical Centers

Priority medical centers see more and more patients coming through their doors who are ill from preventable illnesses. Handwashing might not be a magical cure for every illness, but for contagious sicknesses, such as the flu, whopping cough, and the common cold, it comes close.

If you do fall ill, Peconic Bay Medical Center welcomes you with open arms. Learn more about PBMC at