Melissa Sherman, BSN, RN

As a mother of two young boys, I am constantly reminding them to wash their hands. They usually run in the bathroom, splash some water around and dry their hands on their pants and think the job is done. As fun as that is for them, it is so important to use proper hand-washing techniques in order to truly rid hands of those microscopic germs that can result in a cold or the flu. It is especially important for people with asthma, as respiratory infections are often a trigger for asthma. Washing your hands correctly is the best way to avoid getting sick and potentially making asthma worse. So what are the basic principles of hand-washing?
Children and adults should always wash hands:

  1. Before eating
  2. After using the bathroom or changing a diaper
  3. After using your hand to cover a sneeze/cough or blow your nose
  4. After caring for a sick person or child
  5. After playing outside
  6. When hands look dirty

As a mother and a nurse, my own personal rule of thumb is anytime we come home, especially after running errands all morning or after being outside playing, we wash our hands! Here are five simple steps on how to wash your hands:

  1. Turn the faucet on and get your hands wet with warm water
  2. Put liquid soap on hands
  3. Rub soap all over the hands, including between the fingers for about twenty seconds (I like to sing the ABC’s twice with my little guys so they know how long is long enough)
  4. Rinse hands well
  5. Use a dry hand towel to dry hands
  6. If in a public restroom, use paper towel to turn faucet off and open door

Washing your hands properly is one of the easiest and best ways to fight infection and stay healthy!

For a short video on hand washing
click here
Provided by the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

For a poster on
hand washing

click here
Provided by the
World Health Organization