HealthWatch: hand hygiene

Hand hygiene is very important when it comes to preventing the spread of germs.
Hand hygiene is very important when it comes to preventing the spread of germs.
Updated: Jan. 19, 2023 at 9:00 PM MST
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KEVN) - Did you know that some germs can survive for up to three hours on your hands? That number of germs on your fingertips even doubles after you use the bathroom.

Rapid City’s Monument Health Ty White, director of infection and prevention control, speaks on the importance of hand hygiene and how to help prevent the spread of those microscopic enemies.

“Did you know 20 seconds is all you need to save a life? Proper hand hygiene is one of the most effective tools we have to fight the spread of infectious diseases, whether you are at home, at work, or around your community. This is a tool everyone can use - from kids to grandparents, nurses to hospitality workers, everyone can protect their community with proper hand hygiene.”

Germs spread from our hands to everything they come into contact with, such as kitchen counters, handrails, and door handles. Especially places in public areas that can have contaminants unseen to the eye.

White continues with how these germs can be picked up from these public areas and spread to other people or areas...”Hand hygiene prevents the spread of illness to ourselves and others by killing the germs on our hands before we can transfer them through our food, or by unconsciously touching our face or eyes.”

In order to properly wash your hands, it is recommended that you, “Wet your hands with clean, running water (warm or cold), turn off the tap, and apply soap. Lather your hands by rubbing them together with the soap. Lather the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails. Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds. If you need a timer, hum the “Happy Birthday” song from beginning to end twice. Rinse your hands well under clean, running water. Dry your hands using a clean towel or an air dryer.”

“That’s how you can save a life in 20 seconds,” White said.

If you have questions about your hand hygiene, make sure you discuss the issues with your primary physician.