Teaching kids healthy habits is important. But how do you get them to pay attention to a dull topic such as how to wash their hands? With a little creativity, both learning about hand washing and implementing that knowledge can be fun for kids.
Make the Process a Game
Correctly washing hands is essential to be effective. There are five steps: #1 wet, #2 lather, #3 scrub, #4 rinse, and #5 dry. Making a game out of learning these steps helps kids wash the right way. A parent can stand near the sink as the child prepares to wash his hands and say “1.” The child responds with “wet” and takes the corresponding action. This process is repeated for the next four steps. Kids are both saying and doing the step, which reinforces what they are learning.
Lave and Learn
Older children can use the required 20 seconds for hand washing to practice learning other things. For instance it is the perfect opportunity for them to count to 20 in a foreign language they are learning. Cleanliness can be next to language fluency.
Use of warm, soapy water is suggested for hand washing. Demonstrate the difference between hot, cold, and warm at the sink. Ask a young child to be Goldilocks. She can say the appropriate phrase depending on the water temperature: “This water is too hot,” “This water is too cold,” or “This water is warm and just right for hand washing!”
Even English lessons can occur while hand washing. Challenge your child to list as many adjectives as he can to describe the soap he is using. How does it smell? What does it feel like? What color is it?
Engage brains while hands are washed. Have kids recite where they got the germs being washed off. While scrubbing they can say, “I’m washing the germs off I got from petting Fido.” “I’m washing the germs off from the garbage can I took out for Mom.” This exercise opens their eyes as to how and where germs can be picked
Check It Out
Soap is key for hand washing. Pump soap comes in various smells and colors. Let your child choose the soap to use. If her favorite color is pink, she might be fascinated with pink-tinged Himalayan salt soap.
Hand washing can spark an inquiring mind. Offer both hand sanitizer and pump soap for use in the bathroom. Ask your child to report her observations. How do they compare? Are the textures different? Does one make her hands feel cleaner?
Encourage your child’s creativity during hand washing. Have him pretend he is doing a commercial for soap while washing his hands. He can talk to the mirror about why he likes this particular soap and why others should buy it. Or challenge him to think up a cool new scent of soap he would like to use. Would kids scream to wash their hands with ice cream soap?
Children need to understand hand washing is not a “splash and dash” activity. Effective hand washing lasts at least 20 seconds. People often sing “Happy Birthday” while washing their hands since it takes 20 seconds to sing it. Challenge your child to compose his own song to sing while washing his hands. A personalized song makes the hand washing time fun for them.
The More the Merrier
Siblings can enjoy a group activity. Tell them they are participating in a consumer survey. Offer three different soaps. After they have tried each one, ask them to rate the soaps as #1, #2, and #3 in preference. Are the children’s rankings different?
Perhaps your child would have a blast washing his hands if he is a mad scientist testing out his creation. Seeing is believing so have your children apply GlitterBug Potion with invisible glowing marker before washing. After washing have them view their hands under a blacklight. See any residual glowing? If so those are the most likely trouble spots. Task children with making a record of how many glowing areas they can see. Are certain areas glowing more commonly? Did they follow the five steps carefully? Do certain techniques minimize the glowing?
Only your imagination limits the number of ways to engage kids in hand washing. Making the activity enjoyable encourages kids to participate and results in healthy, happy, hand washing children.
What’s the best way to keep from getting sick and making others sick? Washing your hands! If soap and water aren’t handy, you may reach for the next-best thing: hand sanitizer. These sanitizers contain active ingredients such as ethyl alcohol, ethanol or isopropanol designed to conquer those hard-to-kill bacteria and viruses that love to make you cough and sneeze.
Goodbye to Germs
When you squirt that hand sanitizer on your hands, rub vigorously. The friction will help get in the nooks and crannies of your hands. In these brief moments, the alcohol is attacking the bacteria’s outer casing or cell membrane. The bacteria cannot survive without its supportive walls, meaning you have cleaner, more germ-free hands.
Tips for Use
A catch exists for alcohol-based hand sanitizers: The sanitizers must contain enough alcohol to make an impact. Look for a hand sanitizer that has at least 60 percent alcohol. Otherwise, your hand sanitizer is a dud in terms of keeping your hands clean. To make matters worse, using a low-percentage hand sanitizer spreads germs around your hand, making them easier to spread, according to The New York Times.
You can tell you are using enough hand sanitizer by how fast the sanitizer evaporates. Once you apply the sanitizer to your hands, the product should take at least 15 seconds to evaporate, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
While effective, using hand sanitizers isn’t always the answer. Washing with soap and water is your best bet when your hands are visibly soiled. Hand sanitizers stop germs, but they don’t remove dirt, blood or stool. They also do not kill certain bacteria types, such as E.coli, a common bacteria present in raw or uncooked foods. When you’re cooking or have just gone to the bathroom, go with washing your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds over using alcohol-based hand sanitizers.
Hand sanitizers do have an advantage over handwashing in that they are easier to access. You may not have a sink handy, but you can keep a small bottle of hand sanitizer in your desk, car, pocket or purse. This convenience appeals to healthcare workers and others who are always pressed to save time.
Secondly, frequent warm water and soap usage can dry out and crack your hands. This effect attracts bacteria to your hands. Hand sanitizer manufacturers can incorporate moisturizers to reduce cracking while keeping your hands clean.
How To See If Your Hands Have Been Properly Sanitized
One great way to see if you have applied hand sanitizer properly is by using GlitterBug® Gel. This product is formulated to be very similar to popular hand sanitizers but it has a special ingredient that glows when illuminated by black light. Apply the GlitterBug Gel and rub it in as if it were regular hand sanitizer. Then examine your hands under black light from the Brevis GlowBarLED lamp. The GBX molded disclosure center is ideal for viewing the results because it shields out extraneous or ambient light thus enhancing perception. After using the GlitterBug Gel you should see the entirety of your hands glowing. Any dark areas that do not glow are areas that may not have been safely sanitized. Visual feedback to help improve technique and therefore safety.
We all know that keeping hands clean helps keep us from getting sick, but how does handwashing actually work? Can we really get rid of all the germs on our hands? Is there a single best technique for handwashing? Do antibacterial soaps really work? Scientists have studied these questions, and some of the answers may be surprising.
What exactly are germs? Can handwashing really get rid of them?
Microbes, microscopic organisms, are everywhere, including on human skin. Many of the microbes on hands are single-celled bacteria. Many of the bacteria are always there, living harmless and unnoticed; these are called resident bacteria. Other bacteria are picked up from the environment; these are called transient bacteria. Transients can persist on skin for days to months, but can’t live there forever. They may include pathogens — disease causing organisms, or germs.
Handwashing can never completely remove resident bacteria; there may be 10,000 or more individual bacteria on each hand, and they are adept at sticking to skin and slithering down between the cracks in skin cells to avoid removal. Transient bacteria are present in fewer numbers and are not adapted to living on skin surfaces; they can be completely removed by handwashing. Therefore, the purpose of handwashing is not to make hands sterile; it is to get rid of any potential pathogens that have hitched a ride. However, handwashing technique can vary, and as we will see, some variables are more important than others in making sure pathogens have been removed.
Does it matter if the water is hot or cold?
Although germs aren’t likely to be destroyed by water temperatures we can tolerate, health experts have long recommended washing hands with warm or hot water. The reason is that warmer water should help dissolve oils and other substances coating skin, helping to wash away germs with them. Unfortunately, recent studies comparing the numbers of bacteria on hands washed with cold, warm, and hot water have shown no difference in the results — just as many bacteria remain no matter what water temperature is used. Since using hot water uses more energy and might irritate the skin if handwashing is frequent, cold water might be a better option.
What does soap actually do?
In general, soap doesn’t kill germs. In fact, populations of bacteria have been found thriving in liquid soap dispensers in public restrooms. Instead, the purpose of soap is to help remove contaminants and bacteria from the skin surface. There is an extra benefit as well; some studies have examined how thoroughly volunteers washed their hands with and without soap; the volunteers using soap did a much more thorough job. Using water alone will reduce the number of germs on hands, but using soap is more effective.
Should antibacterial soap be used? What about other sanitizers?
Although antibacterial soap is everywhere, there is no scientific evidence that it is any better at removing germs from hands than regular soap. There is also concern that triclosan, a common ingredient in antibacterial soap, could cause bacteria to become resistant to antibiotics.
For how long should hands be washed?
The length of handwashing depends on the circumstances; for example, very dirty hands or hands exposed to more pathogens need a longer period. In general, studies show that 20-30 seconds of handwashing is all it takes to remove most germs. To help time handwashing, you can hum the “Happy Birthday” song two times – this should take approximately 20 seconds.
Which areas get missed?
Worldwide, the same areas are missed again and again when hands are washed. Fingertips, cuticles, between the fingers, and the back of the hand, especially the thumb and ring finger, are areas which get the least attention; therefore, these are the areas where most germs remain.
GlitterBug is designed to disclose where hand washing can improve.
Research-based handwashing technique
In order for handwashing to work, proper technique is a must. Begin handwashing by wetting hands with warm or cool water. Apply soap and lather hands; remember commonly-missed areas such as around the nails, between the fingers, and the backs of the hands. Scrub hands together for at least 20 seconds (or two rounds of the “Happy Birthday” song) before thoroughly rinsing and drying.
As long as the proper technique is used, handwashing is an excellent way to reduce or eliminate transient bacteria, including disease-causing pathogens.
Hand sanitizers have been a popular commodity since the emergence of Covid-19 in the Spring of 2020. There was even a shortage for a while, as everyone rushed to stores to stock up. As sales continue to rise consumers should be aware of the ingredients of the product and the marketing techniques that manufacturers use to increase sales.
According to the FDA, in order to be effective, hand sanitizers should contain at least 60% alcohol. The label may list this as ethanol, ethyl alcohol, or isopropyl alcohol. If the label does not show the percentage of alcohol contained in the product, do not buy it.
Some types of alcohol are extremely dangerous, and it is doubtful that a manufacturer would list these on the label if they are present, but the FDA has found contamination with methyl alcohol or 1-propanol in some hand sanitizers manufactured in Mexico and sold in the U.S. Methyl alcohol, or wood alcohol as it is sometimes called, is used to make antifreeze. 1-propanol is an ingredient of industrial solvents.
Claims that hand sanitizers can prevent Covid-19, influenza or other diseases are misleading. Any product making these claims should be avoided. Hand sanitizers, when used properly, can only kill germs that are on your hands, and only lasts until you touch something else.
Misleading Marketing Practices
Some hand sanitizers on the market are scented with appetizing smells such as chocolate or strawberries. If a child smells these, he or she may think they are good to drink. Hand sanitizers packaged in containers that resemble beverage cans, water bottles or food pouches can also mislead young children into thinking that the contents are edible food products.
There have been cases where a person has mistakenly believed that a product that contains alcohol is OK to drink. Since alcoholic beverages contain alcohol, why not drink Nyquil, extract of Vanilla, mouth wash, or hand sanitizer and get a similar “buzz”? Ingesting any of these products could produce headaches, diarrhea, vomiting, irregular heart rate, seizures and if a very large quantity is consumed, possibly coma or death could result.
Since hand sanitizers seem to be everywhere these days it is important to understand what the ingredients are. Make sure the contents are clearly labeled and contain a minimum of 60% alcohol. Ignore claims made on labels that the hand sanitizer you are buying will prevent influenza, Covid-19 or anything else. It does not. Never ingest hand sanitizer. It is not safe for human consumption. Small children should be supervised when using hand sanitizers. When shopping for hand sanitizers, avoid packaging that could be mistaken for food products. Steer clear of those with appetizing scents.
Teach people how to apply hand sanitizer correctly with Glitterbug Gel.
What makes us get sick more often during the holiday season?
Many theories have been postulated and studied over the years and many factors are blamed for being virus enablers. Closer proximity of hosts (us) within closed spaces makes transmission easier due to the shared air we breathe while indoors and the common surfaces we touch as people share confined areas. Further, foods are presented and ingested in areas with higher germ populations due to the foregoing.
Other theories suggest that inactivity and depression generally increases with the cold and gloomy weather and this coupled with decreased exposure to the sun may tend to inhibit our immune systems.
We suspect that all of these factors and more contribute to the seasonal spike in illnesses. But, there are some commons sense actions that can help reduce your chances of being the next holiday (infection) host. The most effective way to reduce your risks of seasonal sickness is to wash your hands often, especially after shaking hands, touching surfaces in common areas such as handrails and countertops and especially before eating.
September is National Food Safety Month and because everybody eats, everybody should be reminded about the importance of safe food handling. Safe food handling is critical of course for those who prepare your food, but the food-consumer should be careful not to introduce microbial pests while eating. Proper hand-washing is the common denominator of effective infection prevention. To help you with your mission of promoting food-safety and infection prevention Brevis is holding a September Special.
Foodborne illnesses cost the U.S. about $78 billion per year.
Each year, approximately 1 in 6 Americans gets foodborne illness.
Foodborne illnesses result in over 3,000 deaths each year.
68% of outbreaks occur at restaurants. Sourced from CDC.gov
10% off all GlitterBug products
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Hey, did you wash your hands recently? Well, you probably did it wrong. CNN pointed out a recent government study found that 97 percent of the time, people fail to properly wash their hands—a problem that can lead to all sorts of unnecessary illnesses being spread.
According to the US Department of Agriculture, people are falling short of meeting the standards for acceptable handwashing set by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The bar to make sure your hands are sufficiently clean requires you to wash and scrub with soap for at least 20 seconds.
The study looked at 363 people in six kitchen test facilities located in the Raleigh-Durham region of North Carolina and in the town of Smithfield, North Carolina. What it found was nearly every person working in the kitchens failed to reach the handwashing standard set by the CDC, which is probably not reassuring if you’re currently out to eat at a restaurant in Tar Heel State.
Certain events, actions or circumstances can make handwashing more important. For example, after being in public places, or handling often-touched objects like handrails and doorknobs, before preparing food, before eating and after using the rest-room. When possible it is best to avoid touching moist areas of your body such as eyes, nose and mouth unless you first wash your hands. Further, it is advisable to wash your hands after touching those areas. Germs most often travel by climbing aboard hands until they find a good opportunity to jump off into food we consume or directly into the portals of our bodies (mouth, nose and eyes etc.). Before helping these bugs find the greener pastures and making us sick send them down the drain.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has included an easy strategy for hand hygiene improvement in the WHO Guidelines on Hand Hygiene in Health Care (Advanced Draft). My 5 Moments for Hand Hygiene defines key moments when health care workers ought to be engaging in hand hygiene.
Using this model, health care workers are reminded to clean their hands at the following times:
Before touching a patient
Before clean/aseptic procedures
After body fluid exposure or risk
After touching a patient
After touching patient surroundings
Though the instruction may seem like a review of basic principles, it helps overcome misleading language and complicated descriptions. Easy to learn, logical, and widely applicable, My 5 Moments serves as a reminder of one of the most important things any health care worker can do to protect themselves and others from infection: practice proper hand hygiene.