Handwashing 101 - 7 Steps to Protect Your Health

Sunrise Senior Living  |  October 13, 2020
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Most people know that one of the keys to protecting yourself from the coronavirus is practicing good hygiene, specifically washing your hands frequently. Effective handwashing is more than just running your fingers under the water for a few seconds. To help kill any germs and viruses that may be lingering, you need to use warm, soapy water and scrub every part of your fingers, thumbs, hands, and wrists.

In honor of Global Handwashing Day on October 15th, we share some basic techniques to help you stay safe.

Basic Handwashing Techniques

1. Soap and warm water: Start by thoroughly wetting your hands under warm water. Then apply at least a quarter-size dollop of soap.

2. Take your time: Scrub your hands for at least 20–30 seconds. A chorus of “Yankee Doodle,” “Happy Birthday,” or “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star” typically lasts about that long. If you aren’t much of a vocalist, slowly count to 30 while you scrub.

3. Palms and hands: Rub your palms together and create a lot of suds before moving on to scrub the backs of your hands.

4. Fingers and fingernails: Interlock your fingers and rub soap in between them. Scrub the backs and tips of your fingers next, including under your fingernails.

5. Thumbs too: Next is the thumbs. Suds them up well and wash thoroughly. Thumbs are often missed, despite how often they come in contact with doors, faucets, and more.

6. Warm water rinse: Finally, rinse your hands completely with warm water.

7. Drying hands: Dry your hands well. Then be mindful of what you come in contact with once your hands are clean. For example, use a paper towel to turn off the faucet if it isn’t automatic, as well as one to open a public restroom door.

Hand Sanitizer When Soap and Water isn’t Available

Researchers aren’t certain how long the coronavirus can live on surfaces. Reports range from several hours to several days. That’s why it’s essential to wash your hands frequently when you are in public and to avoid touching your face.

If you don’t have access to soap and water, a good quality hand sanitizer is the next best option. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommends choosing a hand sanitizer containing at least 60 percent ethanol, sometimes referred to on the label as ethyl alcohol.

It’s equally important to avoid hand sanitizers containing methanol, says the FDA. That’s because methanol is an active ingredient that can be toxic to humans and animals.

Sunrise Continues to Focus on COVID-19 Infection Control

Like you, the teams at Sunrise Senior Living communities continue to focus on infection control. From adhering to physical distancing recommendations to wearing face coverings, we take COVID-19 concerns seriously. You can learn more about our commitment to infection control in this quick video.

We also encourage you to read our phased Resumption of Operations Plan. It’s a dynamic plan with protocols in place to guide community leaders in responding to local coronavirus changes and individual community challenges.


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