Even though people understand the importance of handwashing, a recent study showed that only 31% of men and 65% of women washed their hands after using a public restroom. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), hygiene interventions including hygiene education and the promotion of handwashing can lead to a reduction of diarrheal cases by up to 45%. The CDC states that teaching people about handwashing reduces the number of people who get sick with diarrhea by 23-40%, reduces respiratory illnesses such as colds by 16-21%, and reduces absenteeism due to gastrointestinal illness in school children by 29-57%.
At Educational Playcare, keeping our students and their families healthy is so important to us that not only is Wellness one of our Core Values, but we also launched a handwashing campaign called Wash Up! This campaign is meant to help educate our students and families on handwashing best practices to help prevent the spread of illness and promote overall wellness. Throughout the campaign, our teachers introduced activities to encourage positive handwashing habits. Below is more information and tips regarding how families can help promote good handwashing habits.
Since washing your hands is the best defense against spreading germs, it is important to understand when you should wash your hands and how you should your hands. Key times to wash your hands include:
- After using the bathroom
- Before and after you cook a meal
- After blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing
- After changing diapers or cleaning up a child who has used the bathroom
To avoid spreading germs, the CDC recommends washing hands using these 4 steps:
- Get your hands wet with clean, running water (warm or cold).
- Lather your hands by rubbing them together. Be sure to lather the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and nails. Scrub hands for at least 20 seconds.
- Rinse hands under water with hands pointed down.
- Dry your hands with a paper towel or air dry them.
Young children learn through their senses by touching, seeing, hearing, tasting, and smelling. Unfortunately, germs cannot be seen or felt, therefore we believe learning through play is an effective way to teach children about handwashing. Parents can teach handwashing by:
One of the best ways parents can teach children good handwashing habits is to lead by example. Parents and caregivers should be role models for their children by demonstrating good personal hygiene habits, including proper handwashing.
For more information about handwashing and to see the fun activities that have taken place in our classrooms during our Wash Up campaign, visit our website!