It’s National Handwashing Awareness Week!
Handwashing is the number one way to prevent infections and the spread of illnesses. So, wash your hands! I can not say this enough. The number one cause of the spread of bacteria and other germs is a lack of frequent and/or proper handwashing. How long should I wash my hands? A good exercise in determining the proper time element is to sing a verse of the song “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star.” or say your ABCs. In the health-care profession, workers are trained to wash their hands before and after assisting each patient. It is said that if a busy CNA or nurse’s hands and fingertips should look pruned like they just got out of the pool or washed the dishes. Good and frequent handwashing promotes infection control.
The spread of germs and bacteria is inevitable. You can’t avoid it, but following these simple rules and making these changes can make a considerable impact on you and your family’s health and enable you to help reduce the spread of germs and bacteria.
When is handwashing done
We touch our loved ones, surfaces, food and other objects throughout the day, so handwashing should be done very frequently. Here are a few examples of when handwashing should be done. Dealing with germs day out and being careful not to irritate the condition any further can cause strain on you, as the family caregiver. Check out my ebook on compassionate care 101 or other resources to help.
Always wash your hands before:
- Handling or preparing food or eating
- Caring for a sick person
- Inserting or removing contact lenses
Always wash your hands after:
- Preparing food
- Using the bathroom
- Touching an animal, animal feed or animal waste
- Blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing
- Treating wounds or caring for a sick person
- Handling garbage
How to wash your hands
It is best to wash your hands with soap and water. Over-the-counter antibacterial soaps are no more effective at killing germs than is regular soap.
Follow these steps:
- Wet your hands with clean, running water — either warm or cold.
- Apply soap and lather well.
- Rub your hands vigorously for at least 20-30 seconds. Remember to scrub all surfaces, including the backs of your hands, wrists, between your fingers and under your fingernails.
- Rinse well.
- Dry your hands with a clean towel or air-dry them.
How to Minimize the Spread of Germs and Infection
“Cleanliness is next to Godliness”. It’s something that we all know, germs and bacteria are everywhere. Not only is handwashing important, but If you looked at your body, clothes, and everyday household items and appliances with a microscope, it would definitely get your attention. Now I’m not saying at all that we should walk around wearing masks and gloves, but a few simple lifestyle changes can greatly reduce the spread of germs and bacteria. Many of them may seem like common sense, but many of them, we do not even think about at all when we should.
Daily bathing is just as important as handwashing essential, especially when our loved ones are sick. Don’t just assume that as long as you do not smell bad, that you do not need to bathe. Take showers, not baths. As warm and soothing as a bath is, you are literally lying in your own filth. If you truly desire a bath, take a shower first to get your body clean. That will minimize the dirt that will be left in the water during a bath. A clean body minimizes the spread of germs and infections.
Wear clean and dry clothes daily promote a healthy lifestyle. When you look good you feel good. A clean body means nothing if your clothes are ridden with bacteria and germs. Clean and fresh clothes are necessary for a healthy life. Dirty clothes can be full of dead skin and germs. Wearing dirty clothes can lead to skin infections, body order, and low self-esteem. So keep yourself in clean, laundered clothes daily. Also, make handwashing a priority.
Two rooms, in particular, to care for the most, are your bathroom and kitchen surfaces. The bathroom for sanitary reasons, and the kitchen simply because that is where you are preparing food for consumption. Use a bleach-based toilet, bathroom, and kitchen cleaners to clean with. Bleach kills bacteria! Get rid of any wood cutting boards you may have in your kitchen. You can scrub them, but they will still have bacteria embedded in them. A synthetic vinyl or plastic one is easier to clean and it will not just look clean, it will be clean. Also, have a handwashing station in both rooms.
Sure this is part of your home but it’s very important. I’m sure you clean your kitchen table, coffee table, and nightstands, but what about your computer keyboard, doorknobs, the toilet flush handle, the television remote, or the microwave control panel? These are commonly touched things in your house. Some of them are touched more than others or are touched by far more different people than others, but they all contain germs and some of them you’ve likely seldom or never cleaned before. Clean those surfaces with a bleach-based cleaner and/or spray them with Lysol. Lysol kills bacteria too and promotes infection control. Furthermore, handwashing is essential after touching these surfaces.
Overseeing this can cause you to stress because you can’t be in 2 places at one time: taking care of your business and taking care of your loved one and home. Look into hiring some help. This will give you the opportunity to get some rest and also make sure your loved one and home is properly cared for. Or maybe you want to spend more time with your loved one while taking a break from some of the redundant business tasks like sending out emails, returning calls, or organizing files. Let’s chat about how I can be of service to you so you can take care of your business and your loved one.
Handwashing should be a vital part of our day, whether we are caring for a loved one, working, or out and about. Our immune system gradually starts to lose its ability to fighting infection. As a result, viruses, bacteria, and other infections are a common killer of adults 65 and older. So make handwashing a priority every day for our health and the health of our loved ones. Furthermore, when caring for ourselves and loved ones, it is important to have a clean home.
With the right knowledge, you can avoid germs and infections. Don’t forget about taking care of you and keeping your business going while you are caregiving. I’m here to assist you on this journey, schedule your planning session with me so we can look at how to keep your life and your business running smoothly. Also, check out this post on how to provide activities of daily living.