Handwashing is now more important than ever. Are you and the kids washing your hands properly?
The World Health Organization recently declared the Covid-19 outbreak as a pandemic, which means it’s more important than ever to know how to wash your hands properly. This is because the coronavirus spreads by droplets when an infected person coughs or sneezes, so it’s important to get rid those germs – especially when we touch our faces so often! And while we’ve debunked several myths surrounding the virus, the one tip that experts have consistently reiterated is to wash those hands properly. As they always say, prevention is better than cure!
But what’s the right way to wash your hands? And how can we make sure the littlies do it properly? If you need some handy tips (no pun intended), read on below…
1. What should I wash my hands with?
Hands up (again, no pun intended) if in the past you’ve ever quickly rinsed your hands with just water instead of actually washing them with soap? And ‘fess up if you’ve ever seen someone not wash their hands at all… ugh.
Well, best break the habit now and get the kiddos to wash their hands with soap and water. Why? According to Health Hub by the Ministry of Health in Singapore, washing our hands with soap “helps break down grease and dirt that carry most germs” and will “reduce the germ count on your hands by up to 99%”. Turns out, soap is more important than you think – handwashing is key, people!
2. How long should I wash my hands for?
We’re all for using hand sanitiser or making our own to get rid of germs, but unfortunately, it isn’t as effective as scrubbing those hands of yours with soap for 20 to 30 seconds. If you’ve ever done the whole quick-rinse-with-water number, then stop RIGHT NOW. According to this series of photos (above) by actress, real-life Disney princess and fellow mum Kristen Bell, our hands are truly dirty when examined under ultraviolet light… unless soap is involved. We’re alarmed and shocked, and it’s safe to say we’ll definitely be getting our kids to wash their hands properly from now on!
Psst, need some help making handwashing a healthy habit? Sing along to one of these classic, kid-friendly hits to encourage you to make it to the recommended 20–30 seconds:
- Happy Birthday (twice)
- The A-B-Cs
- Mary Had A Little Lamb
- If You’re Happy And You Know It
- The Wiggles’ handwashing song
This one’s for the parents: if you need any recommendations on songs to sing while handwashing, check out this hilarious Spotify playlist with hits from every decade to help you get through those 30 seconds with a breeze.
3. When should I wash my hands?
Now, this is a question the little ones might ask themselves when they’re unsure. Of course, they would’ve been taught to wash their hands after using the bathroom, but that isn’t the only time the kiddo should wash their hands.
In fact, the young ‘uns should be washing their hands before and after meals, especially if they’re eating with their hands. And, they should definitely be washing their hands after:
- Using the bathroom
- Wiping or blowing their nose
- Coughing and sneezing
- Touching common surfaces like lift buttons, handles and tabletops
- Petting animals.
Our tip for the little ones? When in doubt, wash it out.
4. How do I wash my hands properly?
Now that you know what you should wash your hands with, how long you should wash them for and when you should wash them, you need to know how to do it properly. There are eight steps, and if you have trouble remembering them, just save our cute little infographic below!
Lastly, if you’re #TeamHandSanitiser…
Hand sanitiser is super handy when you need to wash your hands but don’t have access to soap and water at that time. Like if you’re out and about with the kiddos in Singapore Botanic Gardens and want to stop for some snacks or a sandwich.
If you’re going to be using an alcohol-based hand sanitiser, here are some key tips you need to know:
- For a hand sanitiser to be effective, it needs to have an alcohol content of more than 60%
- Apply a coin-sized amount of hand sanitiser on your hands and rub for 15 to 20 seconds, or until they are dry
- Remember to include the area under your nails, too!