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National Handwashing Week

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Tis' the season for good cheer, giving and colds. With all of the excitement of the holidays, it's hard to forget that the winter is also associated with illnesses, the flu and even viruses like E. coli. What is also interesting is that a majority of these ailments could be prevented with something simple as hand washing.


In recognition of National Handwashing Week (December 4-10), Dr. Sears, pediatrician and co-host of the Emmy Award-winning talk show The Doctors, shared with Momtrends what people should '?? but probably do not want to know '?? about how to stay clean. He also provided us with some tips on how to wash properly and how to avoid getting sick during cold and flu season, particularly when traveling for the holidays! Happy hand washing!

The '??Dirty'? Statistics

Every year, there are more than:

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  • 52 million cases of the common cold.
  • 250 types of food borne illnesses.
  • 10-20% of Americans who have been infected with the flu virus.
  • Only 2 out of 3 American adults washes their hands after using the restroom.
  • Only 58% of junior high and high school girls wash up and only 48% of boys; and children, who have weaker immune systems than adults can become sicker, quicker.
  • Only 30% of Americans who sneeze or cough into their hands wash up afterward.
  • 1 in every 3 E. coli outbreaks is caused by poor hand washing by food preparers.
  • 1 in 4 adults do not wash their hands after changing diapers.
  • Less than ½ of Americans wash hands after cleaning up after pets, and dog saliva alone has more than 100 different germs.

How to Prevent Sickness:

  • Always wash your hands.
  • After using the bathroom, handling money, changing diapers or cleaning up after a pet.
  • Before sitting down to eat.
  • When they'??re visibly dirty.
  • Cough or sneeze into your sleeve instead of your hands.
  • Refrain from touching your fingers to your eyes, nose or mouth.
  • Carry anti-bacterial products when traveling or when you won'??t have access to soap and water.
  • Cold and flu viruses can live 72 hours on plastic surfaces. Use wipes to get rid of germs on arm rests and tray tables on airplanes and trains, a place where parents often change their babies'?? diapers!

How to Wash Properly:

  • Wet hands using warm water and soap (anti-bacterial soap is not necessary).
  • Rub hands together for at least 20 seconds, making sure to scrub every crevice.
  • Rinse thoroughly and dry hands on a clean towel.
  • Kids who wash their hands at least four times a day have 24% fewer sick days due to colds and the flu and 51% fewer sick days due to stomach conditions.

Hand washing tips by Dr. Sears of the Doctors.

Photo is Courtesy - CBS Television Distribution/Stage 29 Productions LLC

Momtrends was not paid for this post.

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