To understand the importance of this article let me give you one piece of information that will surprise you, as per the UNICEF: not more than 35% of worldwide population follow the correct hand washing hygiene and not more than 65% practice any hand washing habits, and if we could increase this percentage it will reduce the rate of mortality due to infectious diseases by around one third!
WHY TO WASH:
To realize the importance of teaching our children how to wash their hands and build this habit it is enough to know that around 80% of communicable diseases are transmitted by touch.
Try to imagine what your child’s hands touch throughout his daily activities starting from his own face, nose, and eyes to the floor, walls and toilet seats passing by his food and drinks.
(Please note that touching does not include touching intact skin, it is not person to person contact).
WHEN TO WASH:
We have to teach our children to wash their hands in these specific situations:
· When the hands are dirty.
· Before and after eating or touching food.
· After using the bathroom.
· After blowing your nose or coughing.
· After touching pets or other animals.
· After playing outside.
· Before and after visiting a sick relative or friend.
HOW TO WASH:
Children need to be taught the correct way to wash their hands properly, or they might just think that splashing them under the tap is good enough. Hand washing is only effective at killing germs if it is done properly. Soap and water is the most effective way to clean hands, yet there are alternative solutions when water and soap are not available. Hand sanitizers are effective at eliminating the majority of germs as are alcohol based wipes. These methods are better than nothing, yet it is best to wash in soap and water as soon as possible- even if hand sanitizers or wipes have been used previously. Following these steps each and every time will ensure that hands are properly cleaned and free of germs:
1) Turn on water.
The water should not be too hot or too cold. Somewhere in the middle, around the temperature you would be comfortable bathing in is best for hand washing.
2) Wet hands.
Hands should be wet up to the wrists, in-between fingers, underneath fingernails and on both sides of the hand.
3) Apply soap.
There are huge varieties in hand soaps. Soap choice is mostly a personal choice depending on what the soap user likes. There are brands aimed at small children and some that are aimed towards adults. Colorful, foaming soaps can make the experience more fun. There is no evidence that any form of soap, whether bar, liquid, gentle or antibacterial is more effective than the other
4) Scrub hands.
Scrubbing should cover the wrists, fingers, between each finger, underneath fingernails and the palms and topsides of the hands.
5) Rinse hands.
The soap must be rinsed off each area of the hands. It should take around five seconds of rinsing to completely remove the soap from the hands.
6) Dry hands with a clean towel.
A paper towel or air dryer works just as well as a cloth towel.
7) Turn off water.
Anytime it is possible, use the paper towel or clean towel to touch the knobs of the sink while turning off the water. The knobs of a sink often carry germs because the hands are still dirty.
How Long to Wash:
It is important to wash our hands long enough to wash away the germs. It takes at least 15-20 seconds to thoroughly wash your hands. An easy way to know the right amount of time is to sing the ABCs, Happy Birthday. Washing for as long as it takes to sing the song will help make sure hands are clean.
How to Motivate Children To Wash Their Hands:
Children need plenty of encouragement to wash their hands at the right times and a few rewards when they get it right.
Games and activities make hand washing fun, and make it more likely your child will wash their hands. You can use games to teach your children how germs spread from a person’s hands to surfaces, food and other people. Games are also a great way for children to learn how to wash their hands properly and you can make the time you do spend washing hands with your child lots of fun by mixing in a few songs or counting games.
Germs spread from hands to surfaces and other people’s skin, just like glitter. Letting children see how glitter spreads is a fun and visual way to help them understand how germs end up on just about everything we touch.
Hand washing star chart
Getting a sticker to add to their chart is a great way to encourage kids to wash their hands. You can use the star chart to keep track of how often your child washes their hands each week, and encourage them to wash their hands more often. Print out the star chart and use it to reward your child when they wash their hands properly.
Washing hands with dolly
Washing a doll’s hands is a fun way to teach your child how to wash their hands properly, and encourage them to take responsibility for washing their hands at important times. It also helps develop emotions like caring and empathy.
These games are fun ways to help your child learn how to wash their hands properly, with soap and water.
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