Of all the gimmicks to treat and avoid illness that parents may utilize, the time proven and most effective way to prevent the spread of illness remains properly washing your hands. So although you can’t prevent every illness, teaching your children how to prup’:ll)’ wct~h their hands can prevcnt them from getting siek as often.

What are the proper hand washing steps?

1. Always use soap. Even hot water alone doesn’t get rid of many bacteria and viruses. Soap generally doesn’t kill the bugs, but it loosens their grip so that they wash off easily.

2. Wet your hands, apply soap, and then scrub for at least 15 to 20 seconds over the entire surface of your hands, including between the fingers.

3. Dry quickly and completely. Drying is just as important in the whole process as washing. Not only do germs more readily attach to wet surfaces, but moisture and warmth promotes germ growth, so not properly drying afterwards could erase the benefits of washing. Researchers at the University of Bradford in England found that people who dry their hands more thoroughly have up to a third less bacteria on their palms and fingertips than those who leave them damp.

4. Turn off the faucet with the paper towel, since it is often the dirtiest thing in the restroom.

Teaching children how to properly wash their hands in 3 easy steps

Give children the following instructions for washing their hands:

1. Turn on the water to wet your hands, and then turn the faucet off to conserve water and apply soap.

2. Scrub your hands for the time it takes you to sing your ABC’s. Or you can have them sing another favorite song of comparable length if it gets them to scrub longer.

3, Turn the water back on and rinse your hands. Get paper towel and dry them good, then turn off the faucet using the paper towel.

*Print a proper hand washing coloring page for your kids

Other hand washing tips:

I. It’s best to use liquid soap as opposed to bar soap, since bar soap can serve as a staging ground for bacteria.

2. Remember: It’s not just kids whose hands you need to keep clean. If you’re getting on about the kids washing up but slacking on your own hand washing, they are exposed to just as many pathogens as they would be otherwise. Modeling is also the best teacher, so kids are more likely to develop proper hand washing habits if they learn them from watching you.

3. During cold and flu season, keep a contRiner of hand sanitizer ar0l1no in Y0ur purse f0r those times when you need a quick fix on the go.

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