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International Clean Hands Week is September 17-23: Why is It So Important to Wash Hands?

September 7th, 2017

Elder Care in La Grange IL: International Clean Hands Week is September 17-23: Why is It So Important to Wash Hands?

Elder Care in La Grange IL: International Clean Hands Week is September 17-23: Why is It So Important to Wash Hands?

Did you know that hand washing is so important that it has its own week? It’s true! In fact, it’s a week that is observed around the world. While you probably remember to wash your own hands throughout the day, it may not be as easy to remember to wash someone else’s hands, such as the hands of your senior parent. Even if they are capable of washing their own hands, it may feel odd to remind your parent to wash their hands because they undoubtedly reminded you when you were a child.

Hands Transfer Germs
Hands come into contact with millions of germs every day. When your parent uses the restroom, touches raw meat, or simply opens a door in a public place, they are encountering germs. If your parent fails to wash their hands, they then transfer those germs to other objects they touch afterward, passing germs from one person to another. And, if your parent touches their face after touching something covered in the germs of someone who coughed or sneezed due to illness, they run the risk of catching the illness as well.

Importance of Hand Washing
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), when people in communities are taught about hand washing, it:

  • Reduces cases of diarrhea by 31 percent.
  • Decreases respiratory illnesses by up to 21 percent.
  • Lowers the number of diarrheal illnesses in people who have compromised immune systems by 58 percent.

Tips for Hand Washing

The CDC recommends that hands be washed in the following situations:

  • Before, during, and after cooking.
  • Prior to eating.
  • After using the restroom.
  • When you have touched pet foods or treats.
  • If you touch garbage.
  • After you sneeze or blow your nose.

Effective hand washing involves the following steps:

  1. Get hands wet under running water. The CDC says it doesn’t matter if it’s warm or cold.
  2. Soap up hands, including the backs of hands and between fingers. Keep scrubbing for about 20 seconds. With elderly people, it may help to sing a song while they wash to remind them to keep going. The CDC suggests humming the “Happy Birthday” tune twice.
  3. Rinse thoroughly.
  4. Dry hands with a clean towel, paper towel, or allow them to air dry.

Just in case you’re wondering what kind of soap is best, the Minnesota Department of Health states that there’s no need to use antibacterial soap. It is no more effective at killing germs than regular soap. In fact, they say that antibacterial soap would have to remain on the hands for two full minutes to have any effect at all on bacteria! They do recommend that you choose liquid soap instead of bar soap because germs can actually grow on a bar of soap, allowing them to transfer to the next person who uses the soap.

If your parent has memory problems that may cause them to neglect washing their hands or if they have difficulty with hand washing due to dexterity problems, an elder care provider can help. Elder care providers can remind seniors to wash hands throughout the day. They can also assist with the process of hand washing. An elder care provider can even sing along with your parent while they sing their hand washing song!



About Linda Kunicki, CMP, Marketing Director

Linda Kunicki, CMP, Marketing Director Linda has been with BrightStar Care of Chicago and BrightStar Care of La Grange since 2013. Her background includes a lengthy tenure in health care as well as a strong business background. While her primary focus has been management, training and marketing, Linda has taken on and succeeded at roles in Sales, Human Resources, and Project Management. Every position she’s had has allowed her to fulfil her passion to service others from children to seniors, which gives her joy each day. Her experience has led her to being on the board of the Chicago Chapter of the Case Management Society of America for multiple terms and serving on many committees for Aging Care Connections and local Health and Wellness groups.

Linda’s pathway to BrightStar began as being the caregiver for her mother and grandmother. Her personal experience has given her perspective into the growing need for high quality care in our society, from pediatrics to senior citizens. And she takes great pride in the Gold Seal of the Joint Commission Accreditation earned by BrightStar. It confirms her decision to make this company her employer of choice.

Linda has also owned Shetland Sheepdogs aka Shelties most of her life. For many years, she has been involved in activities with Shelties that have guided her to earn championship and performance titles on many of her own dogs and help others do the same.

Linda’s favorite quote, “You will get all you want in life if you help enough other people get what they want.” Zig Zigler

Topics: General Health