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The Kid Should See This

Proper Handwashing, an animation

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Proper Handwashing helps reduce the spread of bacteria, viruses, and other germs. Learn how with help from this short animation from Child Care Resources in Montana.

A summary: Scrub with soapy lather between your fingers, around nail beds, under fingernails, on the backs of your hands, up your wrists, and don’t forget your knuckles, thumbs, and fingertips.

Proper handwashing should continue for a minimum of 20 seconds. Hum ‘Happy Birthday’ twice or the ‘Alphabet Song’ once while you wash to achieve around the right length of time. From The New York Times:

…20 seconds seems like a long time. While we don’t have huge randomized controlled trials to prove this is the optimal amount, research does exist to say that shorter times aren’t as good at removing germs, and much longer times can actually damage the skin and can be counterproductive.

And though it’s not suggested in the video, washing your hands as soon as you come home is an excellent habit to make.

Why is all of this important? According to an estimate by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 80% of all infections are transmitted by hands.

hand washing
And proper handwashing is easy. In fact, “it’s one of the easiest and most effective ways to protect yourself.” More info from the Mayo Clinic:

There’s a difference between infection and disease. Infection, often the first step, occurs when bacteria, viruses or other microbes that cause disease enter your body and begin to multiply. Disease occurs when the cells in your body are damaged — as a result of the infection — and signs and symptoms of an illness appear.

In response to infection, your immune system springs into action. An army of white blood cells, antibodies and other mechanisms goes to work to rid your body of whatever is causing the infection. For instance, in fighting off the common cold, your body might react with fever, coughing and sneezing…

What’s the best way to stay disease-free? Prevent infections. You can prevent infection through simple tactics, such as washing your hands regularly, being careful with food and water, getting vaccinations, and taking appropriate medications.

Related: Map of Areas Most Often Missing During Handwashing.

Plus, watch these related videos on TKSST:
• What’s the Right Way to Wash Your Hands?
• Flu Attack! How A Virus Invades Your Body
• Cell vs. virus: A battle for health
Subvisual Subway – The Art of New York City’s Bacterial World
• How Far Do Sneezes and Vomit Travel?

Bonus: How do astronauts wash their hands in space?

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