Believe it or not, every year the first week of December is proclaimed National Hand Washing Awareness week. They have an entire week-long event for it in Florida (I believe it’s at a very nice Marriott this year) and promote the observance through various press channels.
All kidding aside, sitting on the cusp of flu-season as we are, it’s a good idea to give our kids and families reminders about solid hygiene and easy-to-follow preventative medicine. Let’s kick off a healthy holiday season with some basic tips and fun activities (and free coloring pages!) to help kids learn about hand washing.
The CDC states that hand washing is the number-one way to prevent the spread of infection. Number one! That means there’s no easier way to keep yourself free from common ailments, and also no easier way to infect yourself if you are not following good hand hygiene.
Our hands are like little pathogen cesspools. And for a pathogen seeking the fastest route to our immune systems, our hands are like the autobahn. They transport germs and filth right into our system through our mouth, nose, and eyes. Hands are the number one carriers of infection; the orifices of our faces are the number one contractors of infection. So it makes sense that washing our hands is the number one way to prevent infection!
Steps for Proper Hand Washing:
1. Wet hands with water
2. Apply hand wash (soap)
3. Lather and wash for at least 30 seconds
4. Rinse both sides of hands with water
5. Dry hands and shut off faucet with towel
Many people tell their kids to sing the ABCs in order to make sure they’ve washed long enough (number 3 above). That works – or, you can have them sing the Adventure to Fitness theme song, which we’ve conveniently turned into a karaoke-style sing-along!
To further help your kiddos learn the proper steps for washing their hands, we’ve created this printable coloring page:
Because the hands and face are so vulnerable to becoming transmission channels for infection, there are also other important rules to keep in mind. These are what AMA and AAFP call the “Four Principles of Hand Awareness.” They are:
The 4 Principles of Hand Awareness:
1. WASH your hands when they are dirty and BEFORE eating.
2. DO NOT cough into your hands.
3. DO NOT sneeze into your hands.
4. Above all, DO NOT put your fingers into your eyes, nose, or mouth.
Keep those hands clean and off your face and let’s “keep it moving” for a healthy holiday season!