Have you ever noticed someone exiting a restroom while shaking their wet hands? Is drying your hands important after you wash your hands? Maybe you’ve done it, too– you’ve taken the time to properly wash, but you’re in a hurry, and don’t want to take the extra time to get paper towels or stand near an air dryer.
Hand drying is an important part of hand hygiene, and shouldn’t be skipped. The reason is simple: germs can be transferred more easily to and from wet hands than dry hands.
Which method, then, should you choose? Should you dry your hands with towels (paper or otherwise), or use an air dryer? There isn’t conclusive research on this topic, as most studies compare residual microbes (not just germs) remaining on hands following different drying methods. Microbes are tiny living organisms which may or may not cause disease, and it has not been proven that removing microbes from hands is linked to better health.
What is clear, however, is the point that using a clean towel or air drying hands is the proper final step in effective hand-washing. So the next time you’re tempted to shake your hands dry or rub your hands on your clothes, pause and take the 60 seconds or so needed to face the world with clean, dry hands.
Do you know how long it takes to effectively wash your hands? It’s not something we often think about in our day-to-day routine, but for those who wash their hands as a critical part of their careers, it’s a good idea to pass along a reminder.
The CDC recommends washing hands for at least 20 seconds, which is about the time it takes to hum the ‘Happy Birthday’ song twice.
Though it’s important for everyone to wash their hands, those who work in health care or food industries have a crucial responsibility when it comes to hand hygiene.
The GlitterBug Handwash Timer can help to ensure employees are aware of the time it takes– and the time they’re taking– to wash their hands in a busy workplace. It can also keep kids on-task and help them not rush through the process.
Whether you use a timer, or a trick like singing a song or counting to yourself, be sure to take the time you need to effectively wash your hands to prevent the spread of germs and sickness.
This week families and friends will gather to give thanks, make memories, and share delicious meals. Whether you’re hosting or traveling, you can take precautions to help protect your loved ones from sharing any sickness during your visits.
Safely handle the turkey Frozen turkeys should be thawed in cold water (changed every 30 minutes), never on a countertop. Cooking your turkey should be done in an oven set to at least 325° F, and cooking time will vary depending on the weight of the bird. The turkey is done when it has reached an internal temperature of 165° F (use a digital thermometer, and check the turkey’s thickest areas of the breast, thigh, and wing joint).
Keep all kitchen areas clean Wash utensils, food prep areas, and, yes, HANDS. Hot water and soap will get rid of illness-causing bacteria. It’s especially important to ALWAYS wash your hands and all equipment before and after working with raw meat, poultry, or seafood so you don’t spread bacteria that live in these uncooked foods.
Don’t ignore the leftovers Separate cooked foods into small containers, and refrigerate or freeze immediately. In smaller portions, they’ll be preserved faster and more evenly, and later they’ll be easier to reheat as needed.
Food handling errors and inadequate cooking are the most common problems leading to poultry-associated foodborne disease outbreaks in the U.S. Properly handling food and keeping up with cleaning up will help keep those illnesses at bay.
Pass the turkey, not the germs. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!
An outbreak of Shigellosis in Michigan has caused state and county health officials to call on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for help.
Shigellosis is a highly contagious gastrointestinal disease caused by a group of bacteria called Shigella (shih-GEHL-uh). It’s transmitted by consuming food, water, or other beverages contaminated with as little as a microscopic amount of contaminated fecal matter. Most people infected experience diarrhea, fever, and stomach cramps, usually lasting five to seven days.
In Michigan’s Genesee and Saginaw counties, 177 cases were reported between March 1 and October 26. At least 27 have been hospitalized, and no related deaths have been reported so far. Many are suspicious of the tainted city water supply in Flint as being linked to the outbreak.
To help prevent the spread of this disease, public health officials recommend thorough and frequent handwashing.
Genesee County Health Division Director Suzanne Cupal explains, “Some germs like Shigella only take a small amount to make you ill. This in an opportunity to remind everyone that handwashing should be a healthy habit you practice every day. It’s critical after you’ve diapered, used the bathroom, and before you cook food. We want everyone to make handwashing a healthy habit that everybody does regularly. Use soap, and rub hands together for at least 20 seconds. The friction with the foam is what’s getting the bacteria off your hands.” Cupal also directed that any hand sanitizer used should contain at least 60% alcohol.
Wondering what some of the biggest offenders are for spreading germs? Check out this video:
State Fair season may have come to a close for this year, but some news from Michigan and Ohio tells us about something we should know about when we attend these events: swine flu.
Most of us became familiar with swine flu, or influenza A (H3N2), because of news coverage of outbreaks in 2012. It is called a variant virus, which is when a flu virus normally found in pigs is found in a person.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) confirmed variant swine flu viruses in 18 people in August of this year. All who were infected had attended agricultural fairs; 16 of the 18 were children, seven under five years old. Four individuals said they’d passed through a swine barn, and 13 said they’d directly touched or handled a pig. One individual was hospitalized, and all recovered fully.
So what should we know before we go to fairs or zoos? Dr. Greg Poland, director of the Mayo Clinic’s vaccine research group and member of the Infectious Diseases Society of America, says, “Recognize that these animals carry influenza viruses — they’re the source of them — and so appropriate and hygiene is important. Kids need to have their hands washed well.” Particularly after petting an animal, children should not eat until they wash their hands or use sanitizer. Teach kids not to put their hands on their face or in their mouth while at the fair. If your child get sick after the fair or zoo, and does not get better, seek medical attention. Children who are 6 months and older should get annual flu shots, as recommended by the CDC, which helps stop variant viruses from spreading wildly, and also helps decrease the number of new viruses.