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Scary Facts About Handwashing

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  • Written By: Northern Inyo Healthcare District
Scary Facts About Handwashing

Are You Washing Your Hands Correctly?

Did you know that handwashing is one of the most important ways to prevent the spread of disease? In fact, most of the germs we encounter are touched by our hands. Who knew our hands help so much power over our health? Yet, many of us aren’t actually washing our hands the right way. Keep reading to learn some frightening facts about hand hygiene and how to ensure you’re protecting your health.

How Many of These Handwashing Facts Do You Know?

Handwashing is a simple action we’ve known how to do since birth. But, these facts may surprise you:

Fact #1: only about half of Americans wash their hands the right way.

This is a problem because handwashing is a simple and effective way to prevent illnesses like colds, flu, and food poisoning. According to a study by the University of Arizona, 97% of people don’t wash their hands long enough to kill the bacteria that can cause illness.

Fact #2: proper handwashing can reduce the number of people who get sick.

This one may seem obvious — but just how big of an impact can handwashing make? Recent studies say a great deal. Handwashing can reduce those who are sick with diarrhea by 31%, and it can reduce respiratory illnesses, like colds, by 16-21%.

Fact #3: the average person touches their face about 16 times an hour.

If you didn’t know how important clean hands are to your health, you do now — and you may think twice about touching your face as much. An involuntary response for man, touching your face often means that all the bacteria on their hands have a chance to transfer to their face and cause illness.

Fact #4: 33% of people forget to wash their hands after using the restroom.

What’s more, is that only 66% of people wash their hands after coughing or sneezing — even after the past few years. As we return to public spaces after much time remote or isolated, it’s important to remember your own personal hygiene when at the office, at a restaurant, or another venue.

statistic on how many people wash their hands and the importance of handwashing

Proper Handwashing Tips

These statistics are alarming, but there is some good news. You can help prevent the spread of disease by washing your hands properly and often. Here are some tips for proper handwashing:

  • Wet your hands with clean, running water and apply soap.

  • Rub your hands together to create a lather and scrub all surfaces of your hands.

  • Continue rubbing your hands for at least 20 seconds. Need a timer? Sing “Happy Birthday” from beginning to end twice.

  • Rinse your hands well under clean, running water.

  • Dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry them.

proper steps for washing your hands

Flu & Cold Treatment in Bishop, CA

Remember, proper handwashing is one of the best ways to prevent the spread of disease. So please wash your hands often, and wash them well!

Northern Inyo Healthcare District’s Rural Health Clinic is here to help keep your family happy and healthy through flu season. To schedule a flu shot appointment please call 760-873-2849.