Importance of Handwashing
While handwashing is always an important practice for preventing the spread of illness and infection, it has been pulled front and center during the COVID-19 pandemic. Every person should be implementing handwashing best practices, but it is even more critical for the elderly and those interacting with seniors. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), people 65 years and older, those who live in nursing homes, and people with chronic conditions are especially vulnerable to the disease. Additionally, 80% of all deaths from the coronavirus in the United States are in adults 65 and older.
Proper Handwashing Technique
To keep everyone as safe as possible during these times, we must all be vigilant about handwashing. For handwashing to be effective, it must be done properly. While many of us are used to washing our hands, it is easy to forget some of the key techniques that we should use.
Some of the most important handwashing tips are:
- Wash for at least 20 seconds. While many people think the temperature of the water is what matters, it is actually the scrubbing that helps. According to the CDC, washing for at least 20 seconds will remove more germs from your hands than only washing for a few seconds. The water can be hot or cold, whichever temperature suits your skin best.
- Use thorough friction, especially under the nails. Along with soap, friction helps lift grease, dirt, and microbes from the skin which ultimately helps reduce the spread of viruses and bacteria.
- Remember to wash everywhere. Make sure to scrub your wrists, between all fingers, and beneath the fingernails to remove all microbes.
When to Wash Hands
Aside from technique, timing matters when it comes to handwashing. Washing hands often and at the key moments will help everyone stay safe. The CDC states you should always wash your hands using proper techniques when:
- After using the toilet, helping another person use the toilet, or changing diapers/undergarments
- Preparing food
- Prior to eating
- After coughing, sneezing, or blowing your nose
- Before and after caring for someone who is ill
- Before and after treating a wound
- After handling garbage
- After touching a pet or pet food
Handwashing for Seniors
To reduce the spread of the current virus along with many other illnesses, we must all do our part and take care to properly sanitize our hands. However, for vulnerable populations and their caretakers (like seniors) handwashing is even more vital.
You can trust At Your Side to practice proper handwashing to keep you or your senior family members safe. Every single member of the At Your Side caregiving team is a professional and vigilantly trained in best hygiene practices according to the CDC. All of our caregivers spend the time it takes to teach families and older adults professional handwashing techniques and can remind older adults to keep their hands clean and to not touch their face, especially eyes, nose and mouth. For the safest in-home care you can count on, contact At Your Side Home Care HERE.